Since 2004-05, the Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders have faced each other in the Christmas Classic. The two meet again today and tomorrow.
It’s the atmosphere that Dynamiters Head Coach-GM Derek Stuart looks forward to as he says it’s pretty special.
“That’s the coolest part about it. It’s crazy, like a Game 6 or 7 playoff match. It’s absolutely nuts,” he said.
Students are still around while on break from college and university and people are back for the holidays. KIJHL alumni make the trip for both games. Stuart has also noticed the intensity of the games pick up.
“These ones mean a little bit more just because there are so many people there,” he said. “It’s probably our biggest regular season crowd of the year for both teams.”
Stuart added it’s a good, healthy rivalry between both towns, plus the games are important in the standings.
“To have them against one of our rivals is a big stepping-stone in the second half for us,” said Stuart, whose team won both games last year. “It kind of kick-started after Christmas. We are looking for the same here.”
Ghostriders Head Coach-GM Ty Valin coached in his first Christmas Classic last season and said it was fun, even with attendance capped at 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions. Valin said the longevity of the Classic combined with the rivalry “makes things interesting and lots of fun to be a part of.”
Valin added the importance of the games makes it a key part of the Christmas Classic.
“They are meaningful games and that helps with the excitement of everything and makes it that much more intense.”
The Dynamiters lead the season series 3-0, the last being a 4-3 win on Dec. 9, 2022. The Dynamiters have four wins in their last five games, while the Ghostriders have won two of their last five