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Cancelled games that were to have been played at Mile One are being simulated online
The ECHL season may be cancelled, but you still can watch the Newfoundland Growlers play out the remainder of their 2019-20 home schedule.
Well, sort of.
The Growlers, along with many other sports teams across North America, are playing online simulations of games that have been called off or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the Growlers’ case, they are using the Twitch platform (https://www.twitch.tv/) and the ECHL mode of EA Sports’ video game NHL 20.
Ken O’Leary, the team’s director of communications, says games that were to have been played Tuesday and Wednesday against the Reading Royals at Mile One Centre have already been simulated, the first with O’Leary and team broadcaster Chris Ballard at the controls, but the second was done in “computer” mode, with the system playing out the game. This allowed the two to engage more with those watching the games online; O’Leary figures there were around 500 people had joined in.
The Growlers won both games and stats were kept, but O’Leary suggests the scoreboard results are far less important than the interaction of fans, who were given the opportunity to cheer, albeit from their own homes mostly, and to exchange messages with each other.
Next up for the virtual version of the Growlers are games tonight and Saturday against the “visiting” Brampton Beast.
The online start times are 7 p.m. (NT), the same as if they were actually played at Mile One,
You can watch and/or comment by going online at twitch.tv or by downloading the Twitch app to your mobile device. You will need to create an account, but it is free.
Tremaine and unknown commodity for local fans
The Growlers got a rather brief look at forward Mark Tremaine before the ECHL season was shut down, and from all reports they liked what they saw.
However, the team’s fans didn’t get the same opportunity. That’s because all five games Tremaine played for Newfoundland after the end of his collegiate career came on the road.
And as it stands, they won’t get to check out the former captain of the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men next season either.
The 25-year-old Dartmouth, N.S., native told the Halifax Chronicle Herald he’s headed back to St. FX in the fall to complete his bachelor of education degree, and while he’s already used up his five-years of U Sports eligibility, he will still be part of the hockey program as he is set to help out X-Men head coach and Goulds native Brad Peddle.
Tremaine had an assist in his five games with the Growlers. This after a university career that saw him put up 99 points (46G, 53A) in 146 AUS games during his five years at St. FX.
Before that, he spent four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Moncton, Victoriaville and Saint John.