You have to give the Prince Albert Raiders credit for one thing; they certainly have a flair for the dramatic.
The Raiders booked a spot in the Western Hockey League playoffs with a third period comeback against the Rebels in Red Deer on Tuesday.
After a lengthy mid-season swoon knocked them from the league penthouse to potentially missing the post-season, they sputtered back to life in the last month to tie the Rebels for eighth.
The game on Tuesday would vault the winner into a first-round meeting with the Edmonton Oil Kings, perhaps proving the old adage “Be careful what you wish for because you might receive it.”
The Raiders split the season series with the Oil Kings, with the visitor winning all four games.
While there is no shortage of people in Prince Albert questioning why such a talented team on paper was battling to the end to make the playoffs, the final result is what ultimately matters.
What can’t be overstated is the impact on the bottom line that winning on Tuesday in Red Deer means to the franchise.
By making the post-season, the team guaranteed themselves a minimum of two playoff games and a maximum of 12 if they reached at least game six of the WHL final.
In 2011-12, the team lost $63,906 after missing the playoffs. A year later, after playing two playoff games, the team made $78,896.
While a lot more went into those financial sheets than just a couple of playoff games, it’s a strong indicator of what the playoffs mean to the team’s long-term future.
The Raiders kick off their series with the Oil Kings on Saturday and Sunday in Edmonton with the series returning to Prince Albert on Tuesday and Wednesday. A potential game six would be here on Saturday.
Let’s hope that regardless of what happens, lots of people are there to see it.
Prince Albert Daily Herald