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Article paru dans le Everett Herald
20 mars 2005

Dans un article intitulé 'Everett has become a hockey town', le Everett Herald, dans l'état de Washington, crédite HockeyZonePlus.com comme source d'information.

L'article suit et est aussi disponible sur le site de l'Everett Herald

Everett has become a hockey town

503,172 fans have watched the Silvertips play in the team's first two seasons in WHL

Oh, great. The Everett Events Center isn't even two years old and it's already obsolete.

Time to tear the ol' girl down.

Time to build a bigger barn.

Don't ask how, but how much. Just raise the money. Better make it $300 million this time, at least.

And step on it.

In the meantime, book Cher's next farewell tour at the Tulalip Casino. Dolly Parton, obviously, will need something more roomy. Everett High School can house pro wrestling shows.

It seems the Everett Silvertips, the prime tenant of the Center, are outgrowing their digs. Or will soon, at this rate.

Remember when the head-shakers screeched their lungs out, wondering how in Holy Ned the area could support the hockey team? How, they asked, can these dreamers expect this population base to come flocking to a game they've never seen before?

Good Goalies Almighty, they don't know The Great Gretzky from The Great Gatsby.

But when you get right down to it, the Silvertips management had no idea what to expect, either.

"There was a lot of anticipation of how people would latch on," said Zoran Rajcic, the Silvertips director of sales and marketing. "We felt that the non-traditional hockey market - basketball, baseball and football - are huge here, having all three of those sports in professional leagues. There are strong high school programs here. There's also a strong college environment around here, with the UW and the Cougars."

So how could minor-league hockey possibly fit in?

Well, Purveyors of Pessimism, Snohomish County isn't just keeping the Tips afloat. It's supplied them with jet fuel, a launching pad, and sent them skyward.

Friday night's regular-season home finale against the Tri-City Americans pushed Silvertips all-time attendance beyond the half-million mark, to 503,172. In this regular season, 228,342 burst through the turnstiles, compared to 203,892 last season. Per game, that's 6,343 this season to 5,664 in 2003-04.

Depending on how far into the playoffs the Silvertips go, they have a chance of breaking last season's playoff attendance of 70,094 in 10 games, or 7,094 a game.

Between the 2003-04 regular season and playoffs, the Tips took in 274,830, an average of 5,975. If the Tips advance again all the way to the WHL Finals (admittedly, a big if), they're a lock to break that mark, too.

That's a lotta beer, especially considering that the average attendance for a WHL game the last three years is around 4,000, according to HockeyZonePlus.com.

Silvertips fans may not know the difference between icing and ice cream, but boy, are they taken by the team and the sport.

"They love it and they're loud," Rajcic said. "They'll cheer almost everything, still. I don't think we have the most educated fans in the league, but they have a good time. As long as people have a good time, that's what keeps them coming back."

And it's not because of the between-periods "Dance for Your Dinner" promotion or the voyeuristic kissing contest, either.

"These guys are so fun to watch," said Everett fan Betty Dockery, who estimates that she's attended about 30 games in two seasons. "I just love this. I bet I've spent $1,000 on jerseys and other stuff in the gift shop. My kids can't get enough of these guys."

Silvertips forward Kyle Annesley noticed the different atmosphere the moment he and forward Alex Leavitt came to Everett in a November 2004 trade with Swift Current.

"I don't think there's a player in the league that can say they've been through what the players in Everett go through, unless they've been in Everett," Annesley said. "It's something totally different, a new experience for both Alex and me.

"Our first game here was against Portland and it was a sellout. We couldn't believe it and how lucky we were to come here. The fan support is incredible."

Better pass the collection plate. And hurry.

 

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