Column: A night for the fans

As hockey columnist Jacob Bestebroer notes in his second to last column of the year, Saturday night is fan appreciation night.

The Chilliwack Chiefs wrap up their season with two games versus the Coquitlam Express this weekend.

There will be lots happening at Saturday’s meeting between the two teams at Prospera Centre as it’s  Fan Appreciation Night.

The first 500 fans will receive a free Chiefs collectible hockey card. Fans will also receive thunderstix from The Home Depot. Among the other prizes that will be handed out during the night are free haircuts from Great Clips, free pizzas courtesy of Papa Johns and a Chiefs signed jersey.

The finale of the O’Connor Rapid fire will take place with four contestants having the chance to win the 2014 Dodge Cherokee from O’Connor Dodge Chrysler Jeep.

Chilliwack FC will also be holding their early bird raffle draw for the Harley Davidson.

Chiefs fans really have been great this season. The average crowd size at Chiefs home games was over 1,600 per game despite the team spending most of their time in fifth place in the Mainland Division. Only two teams, Penticton and Vernon, averaged more fans.

One category that Chiefs fans did finish first in was the Five Hole For Food Challenge that each BCHL team took part in. Chiefs fans donated 10,100 pounds of food to the Chilliwack Salvation Army at the Dec. 29 home game.

Second place went to the Merritt Centennials fans who donated 4,470 pounds.

The Chiefs will hand out their team awards at their year-end banquet on Sunday, though a few awards may not be decided till Saturday’s game. Three players have a shot at being the team’s top scorer. Mathieu Tibbet currently leads the team with 49 points. Carter Cochrane is two back with 47, and Zach Diamantoni has 45.

Tibbet also leads the three star standings with 14 points.

Looking at the standings, the Mainland division cannot change this weekend.

Langley will finish first and face the Surrey Eagles in round one while the Prince George Spruce Kings will take second and play the Coquitlam Express.

Some great races in the other divisions though.

Penticton and West Kelowna are tied for first in the Interior Division. Each team has two games to left. West Kelowna faces Trail twice while Penticton will meet Salmon Arm twice.

The division to watch is the Island division where they only thing nailed down is Nanaimo in third place. Victoria is in first with 78 points, two points up on Powell River. Both teams have two games left. Looking at the battle for the fourth and final playoff spot on the Island, Alberni is currently third with 49 points and one game left while Cowichan sits one point back but has two games remaining.