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Moose mania in Halifax as Mooseheads advance to QMJHL final
Hockey fans in Halifax are filled with excitement on Sunday after the Mooseheads took Game 6 against the Drummondville Voltigeurs advancing them to the QMJHL finals.
“It’s been a great playoff season and we’re just rolling right into the Memorial Cup which is the mecca of junior hockey,” said Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart. “So, it will be a tremendous event, there will be a lot going on in the city, concerts before every game with our street fests.”
While the Mooseheads finished first in the Eastern Conference with a 49-15-2-2 regular season record, they lost their first two games of the first round to the Quebec Remparts. Since then the Mooseheads have been on a roll, only losing three of their past 14 games.
On Sunday, forward Xavier Parent scored the overtime winner just 2:22 into the extra frame to advance the Moose to their first President Cup final since 2013.
While the players now shift their attention to the QMJHL final against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Halifax Moosehead fans are already looking ahead to the Memorial Cup.
“I think the Mooseheads have shown they can hang with any team in the CHL, especially how well they are playing against Drummondville,” said Mooseheads season ticket holder John Strowbridge. “So you know, it’s a short tournament but I’d say the Mooseheads have as good a chance as anyone.”
“The atmosphere is going to be amazing without a doubt,” said season ticket holder Matthew Smith. “Not just from us but from the other fans coming in from all across Canada.”
For the Lawrence family, they say the Mooseheads has been a way of bringing their family together.
“It’s awesome because I like hanging out with my family and everything,” said Mooseheads fan Kaleb Lawrence. “I love the Mooseheads. They’ll probably come pretty close to the cup or they’ll win. Yeah, I think they’ll win!”
With the Memorial Cup tickets already nearing a sell-out, businesses in downtown Halifax are getting ready for the rush.
“This place would be empty every week if they weren’t here, and 10,000 fans for the week. The fans are impressive,” said Colin Grant, manager at Midtown Tavern & Lounge.
The Mooseheads President says those same fans help motivate the young hockey stars on the ice.
“For the junior hockey player to play in front of 8,000 fans a night, is a huge boost for them,” said Urquhart. “It provides a pro atmosphere and experience for them, and gives them a little extra push to win those battles. So, our players have definitely fed off the fan support we’ve had this year and we’re hoping to continue that.”
The Mooseheads will head to Rouyn-Noranda to take on the Huskies in the first two games of the QMJHL Finals. Both teams automatically qualify for the 101st Memorial Cup, which will be played May 17-26 at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April