67's in Hunt for more fans

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

As much as 67's owner Jeff Hunt would like to see the Civic Centre filled for every game, he wants to get the word out that his team's matches are nowhere near being sold out.

"The impression out there is that, because of the (NHL) lockout, you can't get a ticket to see us. That's not what's happening," said Hunt.

Last Friday, Hunt visited the Civic Centre press box during the 67's game against Sarnia and lamented that his team wasn't experiencing a spike in ticket sales due to the NHL labour situation.

Hunt was visibly upset with the turnout at that game, announced at 5,953.

Two days later, a crowd of 6,600 witnessed a game between the 67's and the Belleville Bulls.

He noted that Vancouver's WHL franchise increased its season-ticket base by 3,000 in a year without NHL hockey.

"I bet you I have at least 25 people every day say to me that we must be jamming people into the building because of the lockout."

Through four home games, the 67's are averaging 7,800 fans a game, ranking second in the OHL behind London. Capacity of the refurbished Civic Centre is 9,893, which the 67's attracted on opening night earlier this month against Sudbury.

"It's not like we're sitting back and waiting to take advantage of the NHL situation," said Hunt. "We're still doing what we've always done, giving the fans something extra that we hope will get them to come to the games."

Hunt said thousands of tickets are available for tonight's home game against the Barrie Colts (7:30 p.m.).

The 67's (4-5-1) will try to extend a three-game undefeated streak.

JUGGLED LINEUP: 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea, who turned 70 yesterday, has made changes to his forward lines following the acquisition of overage W Brad Bonello from Peterborough. Bonello will play on the second line with Mark Mancari and Bryan Bickell. C Julian Talbot moves to the third line with LW Pat Ouellette and RW Jeremy Akeson. Bonello was picked up for a fifth-round pick in the 2005 draft.

67's NOTES: Ds Tyson Aitcheson and Brodie Beard will not play this weekend due to injury ... G Danny Battochio is scheduled to start both games this weekend -- tonight against the Colts and Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) against the Plymouth Whalers. Kilrea said Battochio and backup Anthony Guadagnolo will alternate during next weekend's four-game road trip to Windsor, Plymouth, Saginaw and Sarnia ... W Jakub Petruzalek is tied with Sudbury's Benoit Pouliot, of St-Isidore, for the OHL rookie scoring lead with 15 points ... LW Chad Robinson (Vars) and overage G Jeff Weber (Manotick) play for the Colts. Weber stopped 34 shots during a 3-1 victory over Ottawa on Oct. 2.


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