With the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals facing off this week in the Western Hockey League playoffs, there is more at stake than just the pride of two junior hockey teams.
As it turns out, the Black Press publications in the two markets also have a vested interest in the outcome of the best-of-seven second-round series.
In a friendly and legal, yet spirited challenge, the publisher of the Kelowna Capital News is going head-to-head with the three associate publishers whose respective newspapers cover the Royals—Victoria News, Saanich News and Oak Bay News.
Simply put, the publisher(s) in the losing city will suffer the harsh indignity of having to wear the opposing team’s jersey for a day.
Kelowna Capital News publisher Karen Hill has never worn a Victoria Royals’ jersey and says she has no plans to do so in the future.
“Obviously, the Rockets are going to win, so no, I’m not worried at all,” Hill said with confidence. “The Royals have had a little extra time to think about it and the Rockets are on a high from winning in overtime, so I think they’ll carry that over into this series.”
Hill has already asked her counterpart, Saanich News publisher Oliver Sommer, whether he would “look better in black or white,” the prominent colours of Kelowna’s two jerseys.
Sommer is the person responsible for issuing the challenge to Hill over at the Capital News.
“This is for pride, our absolute pride in the Royals,” said Sommer. “I hear Karen has three jerseys hanging up ready for us to wear. But we also have a Royal blue one for her. We’ll take care of shipping it out her way so she can show it off in Kelowna.
“It’s really a celebration that both of our teams are in this series, and just a little fun, friendly competition.”
Joining Hill on the Capital News challenge team are managing editor Barry Gerding and several members of the publication’s advertising department.
The best-of-seven series between the Rockets and Royals begins tonight in Victoria.