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Cougars expecting packed whiteout crowds to open 2024 playoff campaign

We are one day away from the Prince George Cougars’ opening night of the 2023-24 WHL playoffs.

According to Taylor Dakers, the Cougars’ Director of Business, Friday and Saturday’s games 1 and 2 have already outsold last season’s opening weekend of playoffs.

“We are 30 or so hours away from puck drop and we only have 700 tickets remaining,” he said, adding Saturday’s game only has a little over 1000 tickets left for sale as well.

Dakers said the team usually sells an additional 500 or more walk-up tickets on game days.

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The capacity, or near-capacity crowds that will flock to the CN Centre are being asked to dress in white for both games and throughout the playoffs.

The Cougars annual whiteout tradition dates back to the team’s first playoff run in 1996-97, which saw the underdog Cougars advance to the third round.

The 1997 whiteout (Photo provided by PG Cougars)

Every fan who comes to game 1 will be given a white rally towel, and the team has brought in extra white merchandise into their store – some of which is exclusive to this year’s playoffs.

Dakers confirmed the team will also be wearing their road white jerseys at home for the first round.

“The team will be dressed in white, the fans will be dressed in white, we will throw it back a little bit and hopefully make everyone pretty happy to be part of a whiteout again,” he said.

This is the third season in a row that the Cougars will be competing in the postseason.

They did not have home ice advantage in 2021-22 and played games 3 and 4 of the first round against the Portland Winterhawks at home.

Those games were only attended by 1821 and 1727 fans.

Seeing those numbers climb well into the 5000’s for the upcoming playoff games, Dakers said “it is awesome. The business loves it and the people that are working every day to put people in the building are extremely proud of the work we do.”

“I am proud of the whole picture,” he continued. “The team, the run it has gone on over the last three years to help those numbers, that is the leader. We try to keep up here in the office, we are doing everything we can to make sure our fans have a good opportunity to be a part of this.”

“Everybody is really proud of where we are at and very excited to get started on this playoff run. Hopefully it is a memorable one.”

The Cougars finished the regular season 1st in the Western Conference for the first time since moving to Prince George 30 years ago.

They play the 8th place Spokane Chiefs in the first round, and will have home ice advantage in every series they may play except a theoretical league final with the Saskatoon Blades.

“Spokane, when they came up here, they gave us a good fight,” Dakers said. “Their goaltending was good in both games. They rely heavily on three or four guys who play a lot of minutes, if we can shut those guys down… we like where we are at.”

This year’s Cougars team also broke numerous club records. You can find all of their regular season achievements here.

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