“When sun ray’s crown thy pine-clad hills and thousands fill the stands…”
When COVID protocols lift and fans are granted access back into the Mile One stadium, Newfoundland and Labrador may have to change the words to its Provincial anthem.
6, 287 screaming, chanting, energy filled fans from The Rock are going to rock the roof off our first home game. This is what Newfoundland Growlers players and staff will look forward to when the puck drops for their first home game on November 5th against their rivals, the Adirondack Thunder. After the longest offseason in the team’s history, the Growlers will be welcomed back with pure Newfoundland hospitality, just like coming to our homes for a cup of tea.
It has been a crazy year for everyone. But as we know, in 2019, the Growlers won the Kelly Cup and we have not forgotten. Kids run around proud sporting the Black and Gold, stories are told at the local rinks about the time Zach O’Brien, a local boy, was named recipient of the Most Valuable Player award. Every time you see a Newfoundland dog, you cannot help but think of our brilliant banner that hangs from the rafters. That, COVID, you can never take away. The players’ names etched into the Kelly Cup will be intertwined into Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich history.
St. John’s, Newfoundland has been in various forms of lockdown, much like the rest of the world. It has been tough on businesses, both large and small. But sport always “Hold’s Fast” here in the province and gives us a little reprieve from the madness and hurt the world has endured over the past year. But Growlers fans are waiting patiently. They will be ready to stuff their face full of popcorn and the kids are ready for dance-offs with Buddy the Puffin. That’s right, ECHL, we have a life-sized dancing, cool, acrobatic Puffin.
Having said all that, if by chance COVID grabs hold of our community and forces us to keep our public numbers small, it’s ok Growlers. We. Have. A. Plan. We are going to cheer you on from far and wide. Every single home, shed, cabin and business will view games on every single phone, laptop, iPad and radio, no matter if the games are at home or away. We are going to wear your jerseys, hats and toques, we are going to honk our horns, we are going to buy the players a beer at the local pub. Why? Because that is what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians do. We are proud hockey fans. We are champions. And we will Stand on Guard, no matter what happens.
So, for the 27 other ECHL teams, the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador are putting you on notice. The Growlers are coming to bring that cup back to where North America starts.