Hundreds of Saint John Sea Dogs fans gave their team a rousing send off today as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions left for the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ont.
The Dogs lost only two post-season games on the way to their third Q-League title in franchise history. They will be looking for their second franchise Memorial Cup in Windsor. They won their first Memorial Cup in 2011.
The community sports teams is known for its ability to attract people of all ages and backgrounds. Some people have also created a sort of second family by meeting people they had never met before.
“We all support each other,” said fan Krista Paris. “We all message each other, we make sure we’re going. It’s kind of like a whole new group.
“I see them more than I see my family during hockey season.”
And the camaraderie isn’t not lost on the players.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Sea Dogs captain Spencer Smallman. “It’s been awesome and now we get a chance to test this out against the best teams in junior hockey.”
“To have the city like this behind us, everyone supporting us, they showed up during work time just to support the team,” said left-winger Bokondji Imama. “It means a lot for us and its going to give us a good boost.”
The Sea Dogs had much to deal with off the ice to get to this point, including cancer battles by the equipment manager David Kelly, as well as player Oliver Felixson.
The team’s president says it’s the ability to overcome obstacles that allows both the team and the city of Saint John to represent unification.
“This team wants to put the rest of the country on notice about not just the hockey here in Saint John, but the city of Saint John and what that means to them,” Trevor Georgie explained.
The Sea Dogs kick off their Memorial Cup quest Friday against the hosting team, the Windsor Spitfires.
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