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Coquitlam Express to boost the fun factor at home games for next hockey season

Live music will boost the fan experience at home games, says the Coquitlam team’s general manager.
COQUITLAM EXPRESS/FACEBOOK The Coquitlam Express is hoping to enliven the fan experience at home games this season with live performances by local musicians. The team also partnered with the City of Coquitlam to install a giant video board in its arena at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

The Coquitlam Express is looking for some good local talent.

And not just hockey players.

The BC Hockey League team is adding a live music stage for its home games at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex this season.

Express general manager Tali Campbell said it’s all about improving the fan experience, as well as showcasing local musicians.

“This initiative not only aligns with our commitment to supporting local talent, but it also adds a new dimension to the overall game-day experience for our dedicated fans,” he said.

“This is all part of building this program up.”

Campbell said musicians will play on a stage situated on the arena’s mezzanine level following pre-game warm-ups and between periods. They’ll be paid an honorarium as well as receive exposure through the team’s social media channels.

Campbell said in a competitive marketplace like Metro Vancouver, the Express has to work extra hard to win fans’ entertainment dollars.

“We’re in the sports entertainment business. When we charge 10 to 15 dollars a ticket, we have to give fans entertainment value.”

Last year the Express introduced its new mascot, Loco, who wanders the arena dispensing hugs and high-fives to kids and promotes the team at community events.

Earlier this summer, the Express partnered with the City of Coquitlam to install a giant video board at one end of Poirier’s main arena.

Campbell said beyond showing replays of goals and big plays, the Express plans to mobilize a full production team to present other entertaining features like player introductions, fan dance-offs and maybe even a kiss cam as well as providing a new showcase for sponsors.

It could also be used to show away games if the team goes on an extended playoff run.

“The goal is to use it to its full capacity,” Campbell said. “We want to be able to have fun and engage with it.”

A recent decision by the BCHL to detach itself from Hockey Canada and operate independently has also brought new and unexpected consequences to the team’s game-day presentations, including a ban by BC Hockey on allowing any players from its minor systems to participate in on-ice activities at league games such as being a part of player introductions and mini-games between periods.

Campbell said experiences like that have produced great memories for the young players, their families and fans, and he hopes cooler heads prevail.

“Taking that away doesn’t hurt the Coquitlam Express,” he said.

“It hurts the kids and the associations we have with minor hockey.”

Campbell said the live music acts will help fill some of that void while raising the value fans get attending an Express game to a whole new level.

“We believe that live music has the power to unite communities and create lasting memories,” he said.

“By incorporating local bands into the game-day activities, we are fostering a sense of pride and unity among fans, players and the local music scene.”

Musicians of any genre interested in playing at an Express game can contact the team at [email protected]. Campbell said a special landing page with more information should be ready on the team’s website soon.