Silvertips play rare afternoon game today

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are taking a plunge into the unknown, and they’re honoring the country’s veterans in the process.

Everett is holding its first ever Monday day game when it hosts the Vancouver Giants this afternoon in a Veteran’s Day matinee game.

The game starts at 2:05 p.m. at Comcast Arena, and the Tips are hoping to attract a holiday crowd, while simultaneously honoring those who served in the military.

The game is unique in Silvertips history. Monday games are rare enough in their own right, but Monday afternoon games are unheard of, meaning the Tips are stepping into the unknown.

“We looked at it and said, ‘Why wouldn’t we try and give it a go?’” Everett assistant general manager Zoran Rajcic explained about the decision to hold the Veteran’s Day matinee. “Not everybody has the day off, but looking at it from the team’s perspective we were going to get stuck with another Tuesday or Wednesday, so we might as well try and do something on a day some people have off. Schools are closed, banks are closed. We’re just hoping people make a go of it.

“We’ve never done this before, but we’re just going to put our best foot forward and see what we can do.”

There will be a number of ways in which veterans will be acknowledged at the game. The first 1,500 fans will receive a United States flag, and the Seattle Veterans Museum is setting up displays of military uniforms and other artifacts.

“We’re recognizing a lot of veterans coming to the game,” Rajcic said. “We’re working with the Veterans Affairs and the navy base, encouraging people to come out, and we’re giving a bunch of tickets away to former military personnel.”

Everett isn’t the only WHL team playing today. It’s also Remembrance Day in Canada, and there are three other teams in Canada taking advantage of the opportunity. Those three games are also afternoon starts.

The fact that it’s Remembrance Day in Canada also gives Vancouver fans the opportunity to travel south of the border for some holiday hockey. Among those expected to attend are a handful of Vancouver-area youth hockey teams that have games of their own against Everett Youth Hockey earlier in the day.

Rajcic said today’s game will serve as a test run. If the Tips get a decent crowd, they’ll explore the possibility of other afternoon holiday games in the future.

As for the game itself, the early start presents challenges for the participating teams. Teams in the WHL are accustomed to playing night games, so the afternoon start time requires an adjustment.

“They’re unique,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “It’s often an odd game because it’s an odd time to play a game, so all the routines of the players are a little off. So it’ll be interesting to see the type of game. The bottom line when you go into those games is both teams are on equal footing, meaning you’re slightly disadvantaged in not following your regular routine, but both teams have to go through that, so you just have to figure out a way to win those games, too.”

Today’s game begins a busy week for the Tips, as they play four home games in the space of six days. Everett then immediately heads east for a four-game road trip through the Central Division.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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