READING, Pa. - The Reading Royals are rallying for a win in their upcoming Kelly Cup championship series, and their fans came out to show their support Thursday.
The line posts were wheeled in and fans were falling in line outside the Sovereign Center on Penn Street. They wanted autographs and much more.
"You got your ring," said Mike Keating, of Birdsboro, to a player. "Give us a cup. We'll all be happy."
They want the Reading Royals to be the champions.
"Everybody knows, my boss already knows, when we win the cup, I won't be in the next day," said Keating. "I already have my leave slips filled out."
In anticipation of the Kelly Cup series, they have a playoff tradition.
"That's the Stockton Thunder car," explained Louie Albert, of Muhlenberg Township. "That's the car to beat on. Just vent that frustration, just to fire everything up."
Fans took sledge hammers to a beat up a BMW spray painted with the competitor's name on the side, Stockton Thunder.
Over 12 years, fans have developed this playoff tradition, but this rally is different.
"This would put together everything the team has stood for all these years," said Albert. "We've gotten into the semis, but we've never gotten here."
And they wanted to wish the players luck.
"I just want to say you gave me the best two minutes of hockey I've ever seen," said Albert to player Riley Gill.
The team lost a lot of players when the NHL lockout ended, but they still managed to get here.
"There are four more wins," said Mike Rotkiske, of Reading.
And the best of seven series starts at home.
"You're going to wear this at the game on Saturday," said Riley Gill, as he signed a jersey.
"Yes," said the young fan. "How'd you know I was coming?"
The first game of the Kelly Cup Championship Finals between the Royals and the Thunder is scheduled for Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the Sovereign Center. The 7-game series will continue on the home ice with Game 2 on Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
The teams will then head to the West Coast for the third, fourth and, if necessary, fifth games of the series in Stockton, Calif.
The sixth and seventh games, if necessary, will be in Reading on Tues., May 28 and Wed., May 29 at 7:05 p.m.
The Royals, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and Thunder, the fourth seed in the Western Conference, have faced each other only three times in their respective histories. The Royals traveled to Stockton in the Thunder's inaugural season of 2005-06 and won each of three consecutive games.
Allentown, PA 18102