Another take on fans visiting Fairbanks

Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011

In response to the letter to the editor published April 11 by Dale Powell of Fairbanks: I would like to make a few comments on behalf of the Brown Bear fans that attended the first round playoff games, hosted in Fairbanks.

First, I would like to thank the hospitality of the Ice Dog organization. We were treated very well by the organization when they assisted the Kenai fans with tickets and recommending a sponsor hotel. We arrived at the Big Dipper with 33 fans on Friday and 29 on Saturday. In addition to our fans, our owners and general manager also attended.

Upon arrival to the rink and finding a place to sit. One of your local fans saw that one of our fans brought an air horn. Your fan explained no horns were allowed in your rink and felt we did not know that information. Out of respect for your rink and team, the horns were put away. In addition, when security did come and talk with me, I was able to point out which Fairbanks fan had the horn, as he was next to me. The fan did give up the horn, much to my ears delight. End of incident.

At no time was a Brown Bear fan escorted from the game. I know, as our group will tell you, I am a mother hen.

Our fans were enthusiastic, as were yours, and yes, we did stand and cheer when our team did well. Our fans displayed good hockey etiquette at all times. Yes, both fan bases did have a number of verbal exchanges, but to be fair, these are not unusual at any level of hockey.

As we are speaking of disappointment, I was very disappointed with the few the Ice Dog fans, when we had a player, possibly unconscious on the ice. Your fans were leaning over the glass gesturing and yelling obscenities, which are not appropriate for print. It is general sport etiquette, when ANY player is down, to be respectful.

I must state, our players and fans love going to the Dipper, as it is a unique environment for hockey. Over the years, the Ice Dogs have developed a quality program. When I was interviewed for your local news program, I had commended the hockey community, sponsors and fans for the warm welcome we received.

We wish the Ice Dogs well in round two and hope they and their fans represent or division with class, dignity and pride.

Gwen Johnson; Billet Coordinator and fan, Kenai River Brown Bears

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