Team static on TV coverage

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

The only blackout the Calgary Hitmen are calling for is in the stands.

The boob tube, they say, isn't a concern.

Brandon Wheat Kings officials expressed concern over the weekend when both Games 1 and 2 played before less-than-capacity crowds at the Keystone Centre.

Wheaties GM/head coach Kelly McCrimmon wondered if a few hundred more fans may have attended the games if the series wasn't being shown live on Shaw TV.

He had requested the games be shown on a two-hour tape delay.

But Calgary co-coach Dean Evason said he doesn't think there'll be a problem in this hockey-crazed city.

"I don't think it will," Evason said. "Our fans are excited about not only hockey but our game.

"We saw it right from the end of the season with the two crowds of 18,000 back to back. We think our fans will be there."

And they'll likely be decked out in black as they were in Round 1 when the Hitmen won both games at the 'Dome.

Hitmen marketing director Mark Stiles, who has moved over from the Fan 960 radio booth to do the play-by-play for the TV broadcast, said fans are eager to watch playoff hockey in person.

"We had 16,000 the first game and 17,000 the second game," Stiles said.

"And, as you know, it was Tuesday and Wednesday for Round 1.

"I don't think there will be an impact. I think it's great for the Western Hockey League to have TV in the post-season."

Blueliner Brett Carson, who spent yesterday on the links with teammates Dylan Yeo and Brett O'Malley, said the TV broadcast has been great for family and friends.

"It's always a good thing when your fans can watch you when you're on the road," Carson said. "It's also nice that everyone's families who live across Canada can watch."

Stiles said ticket sales have been brisk for Games 3 and 4, especially after the Hitmen wrestled home ice away from the Wheat Kings thanks to a 10-1 victory in the series opener.

"We were moving close to a sellout for the first two games in the first series against Lethbridge," Stiles said.

"I know ticket sales have been strong for Games 3 and 4 this week.

"I think the fan base will be pretty darn happy with what the Hitmen did on the road."

The Hitmen were 19-9-7-1 at the 'Dome during the season and are a perfect 2-0 in the playoffs.


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