Like many Junior A franchises across Canada, Winnipeg Blues face considerable challenges when it comes to finances. Gate revenue is a key driver in revenues and these days co-owner/GM/Head Coach Billy Keane has a wide smile on his face, and a real bounce in his step. His Blues have advanced to the second round of the playoffs, knocking off defending MJHL champions Portage Terriers. Blues ended the series in 6 games with a thrilling OT win at home.
Blues travel to Steinbach for Game 1 on Friday (March 25). Game 3 goes Tuesday, March 27 at Bell MTS Iceplex.
“Winning that series continues our goal of winning a championship and of course gives us a minimum of two more home dates,” said Keane. “We’re really excited about winning and how this playoff will help us financially. These are really huge playoff dates for us.”
Bell MTS Iceplex holds 1,500 and Keane and his team are hoping every seat is filled. It’s an intimate setting, with fans close to the action.
“There’s a lot of atmosphere in that rink when it’s full,” said Keane. “Steinbach is close to Winnipeg, we expect to see a lot of their fans come out in support. It’s going to be a good series.”
Pistons ended the regular season atop the MJHL with only eight losses, while the Blues finished sixth with a 38-31 record. Keane is a seasoned veteran of the MJHL and knows how to deal with playoff pressure.
“We’ll prepare for Steinbach the same way we did against Portage,” said Keane. “We’ll pay attention to their systems and tactics. We’ll adjust. We know it’s going to be a good series. Our players are really excited about moving on in the playoffs. We’ll continue doing what we do well.”