NEWS

Canucks fans gear up for start of hockey season

01/18/2013 01:29 EST | Updated 03/19/2013 05:12 EDT
Canucks centre Ryan Kesler was signing autographs and serving coffee at a downtown Tim Hortons location on Friday afternoon, as the team gears up for the start of a belated hockey season.

The Canucks have recently announced a number of events and promotions designed to woo back fans after a 113-day lockout, promising promotions on team merchandise and deep discounts on stadium food.

The first game of the season is on Saturday night when the Canucks face off against the Anaheim Ducks in Rogers Arena.

"Fans have done a lot for us and obviously the lockout hurt a lot of people. This is a chance for us to give back," Kesler told CBC News. "We got great fans and hopefully you guys come back and support us."

Earlier this week, the Vancouver Canucks opened Rogers Arena to fans allowing the hockey-starved to come in from the cold and watch them play scrimmage for free.

As tens of thousands of happy fans streamed into Rogers Arena, all the anger and bitterness about the four-month lockout appeared to melt away.

"I'm so excited for the season. It's really hard to get by without watching hockey," Canucks fan Michaela told CBC News.

"It's something we love to watch and it's just going to benefit everyone in Canada and the U.S… There's no reason to be mad or anything like that," said Jasra.

While some fans may not be so eager to forgive and forget, either way, it's virtually a given that all the seats in Rogers Arena will be filled on Saturday night.

The Canucks have sold out 407 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the NHL.

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