Bees Mafia: The Hive is buzzing as Alvinston fans support the Killer Bees

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Some of the youngest members of the Bees Mafia get into the game Friday, April 19.

On an April Friday night, it seems everyone in Alvinston is at the arena.

But no one was there earlier than Lynn Mazurik. She wanted to make sure she had a front-row seat for the Game Four of the Western Ontario Super Hockey League final between the hometown Killer Bees and Tillsonburg. Mazurik was at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre four hours before the puck dropped.

She waited in her car for a while, but when people started driving into the parking lot, Mazurik got out of the car so she could be first in line for tickets when the door opened a 6 pm.

She stood at the boards at centre ice for two hours waiting for the team to take to the ice. By then, people swarmed around her. The stands were full, people lined the boards, in some places three deep.

Killer Bees Head Coach Joe Rombouts

Then, the Killer Bees and Coach Joe Rombouts – resplendent in an eye-popping yellow and black blazer – emerged through the smoke from the dressing room into The Hive as the beat of the music pounded. And the crowd erupted. The noise from the self-proclaimed Bees Mafia is deafening.

It’s quite a change from the Alvinston Killer Bees and the WOSHLs humble beginnings. The Killer Bees were among the first franchises in the Senior Men’s Hockey League when it took to the ice in the 2021-2022 season. While the team had community support, it didn’t fare well on the ice – their record 1-18-1.

The WOSHL grew the next season and the Killer Bees put up a better record, albeit not a winning one at 6-17.

Year Three has turned out to be the Killer Bees season. The franchise put a great deal of effort into making hockey night in Alvinston more than just hockey. They added music, brought in other sports leagues, such as minor hockey and minor ball, to be involved in the action. The addition of the Petrolia Squires to the WOSHL brought an inter-county rivalry which drew big crowds in Alvinston.

And the product on the ice improved with some key signings. Mazurik can name the big contributors; Brennan Feasey, James McEwan and her favourite player, Franco Sproviero a former player with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting.

Lynn Mazurik of Alvinston was at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre four hours before Game Four, just to get her standing-room only spot right at center ice.

Mazurik has been a hockey fan all her life. As a girl, growing up in Watford, she wanted to play. Her dad told her hockey wasn’t for girls. Friday, before the game started, the Lambton Attack – the area’s all-girls team – was honoured for placing second in the provincial finals. Mazurick was proud to see the young women on the ice.

She’s also is a big Sarnia Sting fan. Mazurik been a season-ticket holder for years and spent 18 hours in line to nab playoff tickets during the Stings 2023 playoff run.

The Sarnia Sting didn’t make the playoff this year, but Mazurik is savouring the post season in Alvinston. She loves the Senior play – as rough and tumble as it can get – but says there are two things which make the game so good; “Feasey and Sproviero, I have a soft spot for him.”

But you don’t have to be a life-long hockey fan to join the Bees Mafia. Just ask Rob VanDyk. Even though he’ll tell you he’s “never been a hockey man” when his company, RT Construction, was approached, he became a team sponsor and then he started coming to the games.

Fan Ron VanDyk

Friday night, he was sporting a black and yellow jersey and had a mini-Killer Bee painted on his face.

“This is more interesting than the NHL,” he said. “It’s more fun. There’s more action. I love it.”

VanDyk is also a member of the Alvinston Optimist. The club has been focusing its fundraising efforts on projects to improve the arena, so to arrive at the BIACC on a Friday night and struggle to find a parking spot, even along the roads leading up to the rink, makes him happy.

“To come here and see this arena packed the way it is…I’ve never seen this arena this full.”