Raiders look to fans to be club’s ‘seventh player’ with WHL season set to begin

After two seasons of dealing with on-and-off again COVID challenges, the Prince Albert Raiders are ready to take the ice for the 2022-2023 WHL season starting Friday night.

Raider business manager Michael Scissons says the club is looking forward to a year without restrictions.

“Last year, we did have a home opener. We started a little bit light. There were restrictions in place in terms of [vaccine] mandates, and masks. It was a little bit different last year; you turn the clock back three years and we’re back to that time where we can have a full house.”

Scissons says the Raiders are looking forward to having a packed house on Friday.

“A lot of things still work here in the Hauser and the thing that works the best is the atmosphere the fans create themselves. It’s a building like none other in the WHL. Our fans are the seventh player, and it does make a difference.”

In terms of fan experience, Scissons says fans can expect more from the Raiders this season.

“We’ve tried to do a couple more things on the clock in terms of videos you’ll see through stoppages of play, some more fan interactive stuff both on the CHL app and things that you’ll see throughout the crowd. It’ll be a great time to be at a Raider game this year.”

The Raiders have a lot of festivities planned for the home opener starting with a barbeque starting around 5:30 p.m. and the doors opening at 6 p.m. Local country music artist Katelyn Lehner will perform in the Ches Leach Lounge during the second intermission and will perform a post-game concert.

Lehner was named Emerging Artist of the year in 2021 by the Saskatchewan Country Music Association.

Scissons says Lehner is excited to perform at the home opener.

“She’s a local artist who has come back. She used to sing the national anthem [here] back in the day. It’s tremendous, she hasn’t been to a game in a while. She’s excited. When I asked her, I could barely get the question out before she said yes.”

The Raiders begin the 2022-2023 WHL season on Friday night against the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

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