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Sask. senior hockey team surprised after acquiring sizable fan base

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A senior “A” hockey team from southeast Saskatchewan is quietly gaining a huge following.

The Round Lake Bears, who play out of Ochapowace Nation, have drawn over 1,100 fans to each of their last three home games. The games were also watched by hundreds via live streaming.

The nation says it’s been an incredible run.

“We have people coming from Regina, Brandon, Winnipeg. We never thought there would be this many people here,” Chief Shelley Bear told CTV News.

“It’s just overwhelming but we carry a lot of pride in [it].”

Farley Allary is a member of the Ochapowace Nation and has worked at the hockey rink for many years. He said what’s happening is a new feat for the location.

“This brings back the excitement to our community. It’s a great atmosphere, this is the fullest I have ever seen this rink,” Allary said.

The fanbase also travels with the team, filling up neighbouring rinks.

Norman Krahn is a fan of the team, as well as a father to one of the Bears’ players.

He said the quality of the hockey is bringing the people out.

“The level of hockey is just great to watch,” he said. “It’s good, rough hockey and it’s such a high pace.”

The players on the ice have taken notice and know it’s a special time for the teams.

“I never thought it would be like this,” said forward Tyler Fiddler. “It keeps on getting bigger and bigger. We appreciate in the locker room – all the support.”

The Bears were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night, losing to the Lumsden Monarchs 7-2.

However, the team will be playing tournaments in the near future, the first being in Prince Albert at the end of March.

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