10/07/2015 9:18 AM
A beautiful stretch pass received by a soft-handed forward leads to a breakaway and another Beast goal. After the raucous celebration, the public address announcer belts out the name and number of the scoring player, but you will never hear him announce the number seven. The official scorekeeper takes down the information, but he will never jot down the number seven. The jubilant fans thumb through their programs to learn more about the star players, but they will never find a number seven.
In the Brampton Beast’s short three-year history, no player has ever worn the number seven and no player ever will. Before the Beast even finished setting up shop at the Powerade Centre ahead of their first season in Brampton back in 2013-14, Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan reserved the number seven for the team’s real MVP.
“Even before we ever started as a team, our concept was that the fans were the most important,” he said.
“They are more important than the players, more important than the staff, more important than anybody else that would be here. And the number seven, if people don’t understand the connotation, it’s the six players on the ice and the fans are the seventh player.”
The ceremony was not just a passing gesture. The fan-first attitude is a guiding principle of the Beast organization.
“This is only as good as the fans. I think too many sports teams too many hockey teams take the fans for granted,” Kaplan said.
“They say it’s all about winning or player development. It’s all about the fans. Without them there is no team, there is no winning, there is no championships and there is no game.”
The team is not shy about showing its appreciation. The organization gives back to the community as much and as often as they can, partnering with youth hockey, charitable causes and supporting local business establishments. If you’re in the Brampton area it’s easier to find a Beast player or coach, than it is to find a Tim Hortons. If you don’t have an autograph from a Beast player, it’s because you haven’t asked.
The team’s dedication to its fans has paid dividends according to Kaplan.
“If you see 2800 fans in the arena, it sounds like 4800,” he said proudly.
“These fans are loud, they’re into to it. They support the team. They’re passionate, and being only the ECHL team in Canada, there is no other team in the league that has anything like this. We’re proud of that and that’s a big part of our fans being really special.”
Even though the team’s roster is filled with both local and international talent, only Beast fans will be boasting the number seven on their backs. After all, they’re part of the team.
And to reward the team’s MVP, the Beast is proud to announce their ’Beast Seven’ contest. Keep an eye on the Brampton Beast social media channels for your chance to win.