Canucks fans take in 'freebies' following NHL lockout
Published Sunday, January 13, 2013 6:42PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, January 13, 2013 7:45PM PST
Canucks fans showed up in droves to Rogers Arena Sunday to watch the first day of training camp for free.
The invitation was part of a number of initiatives from the Canucks and many other NHL teams are doing to win back players upset over the lengthy NHL lockout, which officially ended Saturday.
“We are going to try to give back as well as we can and one of the themes we're going to have for the remainder of the season is based on our fans and putting them front and centre and making sure they understand how much we value them and their opinion,” said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.
The team has announced aside from free attendance for fans at practice sessions, they’re also offering jersey giveaways and meet-and-greets with players. For fans at the first three home games, concession snacks will be $1 and team merchandise will be half price.
For some, such as 15-year-old Simran Sappal, the attention has been overwhelming. Simran was ecstatic after apparently being gifted a stick by Canucks player Maxim Lapierre at training camp on Sunday.
“It means the world because he's my favourite player and I consider him my husband!” she said.
Gillis is hoping that the fans’ loyalty wins out over their desire to boycott and they return to the game.
"I don't anticipate a boycott here in Vancouver with our fans. I think they've been incredibly loyal; they are engaged, they believe in this team,” said Gillis. “They're remarkably supportive""
The Canucks take to the ice for the first time this season on Saturday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m., against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena.
With files by CTV British Columbia’s Penny Daflos