Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre a place for hockey fans to gather
Vancouver Canucks fans in Abbotsford are known for lining South Fraser Way in the thousands to share their jubilation after Stanley Cup playoff wins.
Abbotsford Police are hoping that some of that enthusiasm will be contained indoors during the final round against the Boston Bruins. The Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) will serve as a celebration site for up to three of the games, pending final approval, which is expected later today (Monday).
AESC general manager Jason Blumenfeld said there was a desire, expressed by city staff, police and residents, to have a central site for people to view the games.
But other events – Cirque de Soleil's performance of Dralion and the University of the Fraser Valley's convocation – were already scheduled, leaving openings for only three games of the best-of-seven series.
The first is game three on Monday, June 6, when Vancouver plays in Boston. If the series extends to games six and seven – June 13 in Boston and June 15 in Vancouver – those will also be shown on the AESC JumboTron.
Game times are at 5 p.m., with doors opening an hour before. Admission is free, but seating is on a first-come first-served basis.
Const. Ian MacDonald said it's hoped that fans flock to AESC for those games, but Abbotsford Police expect larger-than-ever crowds to jam South Fraser Way the rest of the time.
He said previous game wins have resulted in 20 or more officers deployed to the scene. The biggest crowd, following the Canucks' semi-final win over the San Jose Sharks, was estimated at 4,500 pedestrians and 2,500 vehicles.
"As far as crowds were concerned, they were well-behaved and there were no issues," MacDonald said.
Police have previously said that additional policing costs average $7,000 or more per game.