Quebec City — Dick and Margaret Wells just can’t seem to get enough of their Kelowna Rockets.
Season ticket holders at Prospera Place for the last 12 years, the Kelowna couple made the journey 5,000 kilometres east to Quebec City this week for one more fill of their beloved Western Hockey League team.
And while Dick’s sentiments rest with one team in particular, it’s the lure of the junior game in general that keeps him coming back. “This is the best hockey you’re going to see in Canada, I think it’s superior to what you see in the NHL,” said Wells. “I’d pay double to see the Rockets play. These boys are trying to establish a future and that shows with how hard they play on the ice. We really enjoy it.”
In addition to attending every home with Dick, Margaret shows her support for the team with her baking talents.
At every home game, she supplies cookies for the Rockets players who aren’t in the lineup.
On occasion, she also sends batches of the delicious treats on the road for the entire team.
The nurturing Margaret estimates she bakes 1,200 cookies a season for her hometown boys.
“About 100 dozen,” Margaret said with a smile. “This is our way of supporting them. The boys who aren’t playing, it’s nice to do something for them.”
While backing their Rockets at the Memorial Cup is the primary reason for the Wells’ visit, Dick and Margaret are taking time to enjoy all Quebec City has to offer.
The Wells have found the people of La Belle Province to be nothing but gracious and welcoming.
“The people here in Quebec are phenomenal, very polite and nice,” Dick Wells said. “I can’t tell you the number of people who have come up to Marg and I, we don’t know them, they’re kind of speaking a mixed language, and saying we’re glad you’re here. Hey, we are too.”
Just a few rows away from Dick and Magaret Wells this week at Colisée Pepsi are another pair of diehard Rockets fans, Brian and Bea Yamaoka.
The Kelowna couple, who have been watching the Rockets since Prospera Place opened its doors in 1999, pulled the trip to Quebec together on rather short notice.
“We thought it was a good thing to tie a vacation into,” said Bea Yamaoka. “It was really last minute, to get away from work, get hotels and flights booked, it all worked out well.”
As for the Rockets’ one-win, two-loss start at the Memorial Cup, Brian remains confident in his team’s ability to deliver when the stakes are at their highest.
“The (Rockets) have got too good a team to keep them down and they’ve proven before they can come back,” said Brian. “I still like their chances.”
And what about the Yamaokas impressions during their first visit to Quebec City?
“A beautiful place, and really great food,” said Bea, who is making slow but steady progress with the French language.
“Oui, merci,” she adds with a laugh. “We’re learning a little bit at a time.”
Excluding parents and family members, the Yamaokas and Wells are among about 25 fans who have trekked to Quebec City this week to cheer on their Rockets—ideally to a national championship.