The Metro Centre is expected to be as packed tonight as it’s ever been for a Halifax Rainmen game.
Although it’s only a Premier Basketball League pre-season tilt against the Saint John Mill Rats, Rogers Communications has already handed out 9,600 complimentary tickets for the Rainmen’s first home game in more than eight months.
The ticket giveaway put a franchise record 6,780 fans in the stands last year, and forward Eric Crookshank — one of two returning players on the roster — has already been telling his teammates what to expect.
“You won’t find fans like this anywhere in this league,” Crookshank said. “I told them, once you get out there, your game will elevate to a whole other level.”
The Rainmen will hold a pre-game ceremony to retire the popular No. 45 jersey of the late John Strickland, a former fan favourite who died earlier this year.
“It’s going to be an emotional night,” Crookshank said.
Although Crookshank cautioned there will be some pre-season rust, the Rainmen still hope to make an impression on the large crowd.
“Our main focus is to get the victory and to play hard,” Crookshank said. “If we do that, the product will sell itself.”