Black Press Sports
QUEBEC CITY – With a pro-Quebec crowd of more than 10,000 expected in the seats tonight (4:30 Pacific), the atmosphere inside the storied Colisée Pepsi will be unlike anything the Kelowna Rockets have experienced this season.
It’s an environment D Josh Morrissey plans to fully embrace, even if his visiting Rockets won’t be feeling much love against the host Remparts in the opening game of the Memorial Cup.
“I know for myself, I’d rather play in front of a full, loud building, even if you’re not the favourite of the fans,” said the 20-year-old Calgarian. “I saw a game there when I was 12, it’s got a ton of history, it’s a great hockey city, it seems like a fun arena to play in. That’s what you want as a player. I’m excited to get back and experience that as a player.”
The Remparts, who are coming off a seven-game loss this week to Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final, will be looking to get back on track.
On the other bench, Kelowna head coach Dan Lambert said the Rockets hope to derail any such plans with a simple and focused approach.
“The fans are going to be ramped up, the (Remparts) are going to be ramped right up, and hosting, the pressure probably falls on them a little bit because I’m sure they want to do well for their fans,” said Lambert, who played one NHL season with the Quebec Nordies. “In saying that, we’re not looking past the first game, we’re looking at the first period of our first game and how we want to come out and make sure we’re ready for that. That’s all that matters right now.”
Rookie F Dillon Dube counts himself fortunate to playing for a national major junior hockey championship in just his first full WHL season.
“It’s the most important thing a lot of us might ever do in hockey, the hardest thing to win, everybody will be bringing their best,” said Dube, 16. “It’ll be a fun atmosphere to play in, especially in that building. People say the atmosphere is unbelievable, the fans are great. I can’t stop thinking about it, like a lot of the guys, I want to get it going.”