The Chilliwack Chiefs won’t be allowed to have fans in the stands for the shortened BCHL season that starts Friday (April 2, 5 p.m.) at the Chilliwack Coliseum, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be familiar faces in the arena.
When Ethan Bowen and his teammates face off against the Merritt Centennials, they will see smiling people looking back at them.
The Chiefs have been offering team supporters the chance to get a cardboard cutout of themselves, and the team’s VP of business operations, Barry Douglas, said the response has been outstanding.
“Our initial goal was to have a hundred or so just to fill in some gaps for the cameras,” he said. “But we’ve already approached the 200 mark, and that’s without the ones that are still in the queue with the emails and phone calls we’re receiving.
“The feeling is momentum is building and we can sell these after the games start as well, so I could see us getting into the mid-hundreds or even more.”
Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove is among those who’ve bought in, along with all of Chilliwack’s Councillors.
“People wise we’ll have the band, Judy Tuesday, in the stands,” Douglas said. “Non-people wise, we’ll have the Sasquatch and a sturgeon and lots of dogs and cats.”
Prime Signs has been preparing the cutouts, which cost fans $25 apiece.
The Chiefs will be hosting Merritt and the Prince George Spruce Kings in a three-team BCHL pod, and fans of those teams are able to get cutouts as well. It’ll provide a taste of home for two teams that are playing the entire 20 game BCHL schedule in Chilliwack.
“PG’s fans have already ordered a few, and Merritt has at least 20 as well, and both of those organizations are pushing to have their fans in the building,” Douglas said. “We’d love to that. Anyone who wants to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org