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Liard: Wolves fans deserve this winning streak as much as the Pack

Bring your kids to a few games this season, cheer on the home team and instill a love of Canada's great game
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Wovles' left-winger Owen Lane slips around a defender during the Pack's last home against the Barrie Colts. (Arron Pickard/Sudbury.com)

For nearly all of the Sudbury Wolves' home opener against the Oshawa Generals, the local juniors dominated, leading to a 5-2 win.

Two days later, on a Sunday afternoon, in front a dismal crowd who mostly gave up after two periods, the Wolves rallied to beat the Barrie Colts 3-2 in overtime.

Those two games started what is now a five-game winnings streak.

This column is not put out there to debate ticket prices, parking, if you support the downtown or the Kingsway or who owns the team.

All very valuable issues in the community that I am sure were heavily discussed and perhaps over-discussed at the family dinner table over Thanksgiving weekend.

Those issues should not take away from what is really important.

These kids — some of whom are just 16 years old, and are out there working extremely hard to put together an exciting product. They have done that and deserve to be rewarded for it.

I hope that it has just been a case of this team not winning all that much or at all, that has driven people away from the Sudbury Community Arena and not the reasons stated above.

Do I believe this pace the Wolves are on is sustainable? No I do not.

I said it in my season preview column, which can be viewed at Sudbury.com, that I think this team is a playoff team, with a goalie who has blown me out of the water with his performance.

In any league, if you go into the playoffs with a hot or above-average goaltender, you have a chance at winning any series.

This team has to continue doing what it is doing and the results will fall in their favour more often than not.

They are not going to win every game, but what would be nice is a guarantee that there will be a solid support system that won’t disappear after a loss or two.

These hockey players have heard what it sounds like when the arena is half full or a quarter full for a win, but only a handful of players on this team have heard what it sounds like when the area is full, and it is one of the best sounds in all of the CHL.

I hear it from the players every time they get a win, “the fans were awesome tonight.”

And those who go are Jim Stefanko, a Sudbury.com video blogger who is there every home game and probably needs to buy cowbells in bulk by this point.

But the people of Greater Sudbury mean a lot to these young hockey players, and these players mean a lot to Greater Sudbury.

As a kid who might just be starting out in hockey, introducing young people in particular to an atmosphere that is electric can develop a love for a game that will last a lifetime.

The Wolves are preparing to face off against the Barrie Colts on Friday night. Both teams have won a game in the series so far, so it will be an exciting game.

Nick Liard covers the Sudbury Wolves for Sudbury.com, provides game commentary for the Wolves on Eastlink, and serves as news director at 92.7 Rock and Kiss 105.3.




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