One phrase which most people in Charlottetown P.E.I have hear or read during the week of the Royal Bank Cup is that of “Go Dukes Go.”
After all, how can the between 200-300 Wellington Dukes fans be ignored.
They have posters up in the windows of their hotel rooms, they bring noise makers to the Charlottetown Civic Centre and are also armed with their enthusiasm, pride and love for their team.
“We are very loyal fans and we kind of had this dream when the playoffs started of coming to the Royal Bank Cup,” said Doug Robinson, who helped organize the trip from Wellington Ont.
A trip which included two buses of about 100 people on each bus plus those who decided to fly and drive down by themselves.
Robinson also said there were some who wanted to make the trip to P.E.I. but couldn’t because of work and other commitments.
“I think the whole community would have come down if they had been able to,” said Robinson.
But for the fans that did make it down, they want everyone to know they are proud of their team and their accomplishment .
Sometimes it even spills onto the streets, especially when the team is going to the arena. The fans all gather out side and cheer on the players as they leave the hotel and get on the bus for the rink said Robinson.
“We come from a small community and the fans are used to a small rink where they like to make their voices heard. We like to think of ourselves as the fifth line,” said Robinson.
And although the players might not realize what things would be like with the fans, Robinson said the players do look for the support from the fans and would probably miss that support if it wasn’t there.
Also adding, every time one of the Dukes is interviewed they almost always mention the fans.
But they have made time, adorned in their blue vests with red and yellow Dukes lettering, to go and see parts of the Island.
For example on May 9, the night before the semifinal game between the Dukes and the Humboldt Broncos, about 125 fans went to the eat at a former Wellington players restaurant, also earlier in the week they made a trip to Cavendish and many of them can be seen doing some shoping.
“The hospitality has been second to none, everyone has treated us well,” said Robinson.
And although all the fans have lives to get back to in Wellington they have made a decision to stay in P.E.I. until Sunday night, the final game of course, where they hope they will get to make some more noise for their Dukes.
“I think everyone is very confident (the Dukes will make it to the final game),” said Robinson. But added, “They are all great hockey players and need to be commended for getting this far.”