The noise level in the AESC rose to the rafters Tuesday as 6,172 screaming kids cheered on the Abbotsford Heat at the second annual School Day Game.
And the young fans, mostly middle school students, did not leave disappointed, as the Heat roasted the Rochester Americans 3-2 in the afternoon match.
"They were full of energy and full of excitement," said Dave Stephen, communications manager with School District 34. "Staff acknowledged it was a much louder and more energy-filled game than it normally would be."
Contributing to that were the bright orange thundersticks, and every kid had them. They clapped them, beat each other up with them, and raised them high when the Heat scored.
Eight middle schools and seven elementary schools (with grades 7 and 8) participated, and the kids loved watching the big screen scoreboard, as video of Heat mascot Hawkey visiting each school came on to a thunderous cheer.
"Anytime middle school kids get to go to a big community event they're excited," added Stephen.
Not to miss out on a day of learning, all students were given a 25-page workbook, with trivia, games, and facts, and some of the answers were posted on the big screen.
"It's a ton of work for the Heat (who weeks before had sent a production crew out with Hawkey to video him at all the participating schools) and for us (the school district)," said Stephen. "I think it was worth it by the energy I saw today, and the smiles on the faces."
And yes, there was also a hockey game with Brett Carson and Ben Street each recording a goal and an assist. Joe Piskul scored with an assist by Ben Walter in the second period for a 3-1 lead, and the Heat held on for the 3-2 victory and their league-leading 16th home win of the season.
Danny Taylor earned his team-leading 13th win of the season -and on Wednesday signed a one year, two-way contract with the Calgary Flames following an injury to Miikka Kiprusoff.
This weekend the Heat host the Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche affiliate) in a two-game set Saturday night (7 p.m.) and Sunday at 4 p.m.