It's a pretty big deal
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | September 28 2017|
So … it’s a little over two weeks until Hometown Hockey comes to Haliburton County. A committee of locals has formed and they’ve admitted that they’re a little worried that people don’t realize how big of a deal this is.
Let’s break it down.
Hometown Hockey is coming the weekend of Oct. 14-15. It’s free and open to all ages. It’s a jam-packed, two-day festival that showcases live entertainment, local celebrities, NHL alumni, and a bunch of other stuff for the whole family to enjoy.
The Highlander’s already been contacted by the Rogers’ team for photos of local hockey celebrity Matt Duchene doing charitable works in the community. They’re also after stills of people such as Ian ‘Scotty’ Morrison, a former NHL referee and head of the Hockey Hall of Fame, who now calls Haliburton home.
The hockey legacy is long in Haliburton, which is why we were chosen. We have Duchene, who’s a centre for the Colorado Avalanche, and won world championships and an Olympic gold medal. Cody Hodgson only recently retired. We’ve had stars such as Bernie Nicholls, Ron Stackhouse and Walt McKechnie. And, of course, there’s ‘Scotty.’
On Sunday, the event concludes with an outdoor viewing party of a live NHL game broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and hosted by Ron MacLean and Tara Slone. The fact the expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be featured in a game against the Boston Bruins means the match-up is likely to get a lot of viewers from coast-to-coast.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey said it’s the biggest ever opportunity for Haliburton Highlands to get exposure - with more than two million expected viewers.
It’s also important to make sure people know this is not Kraft Hockeyville. Kraft Hockeyville is an annual competition sponsored by Kraft Foods, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association, in which communities compete to demonstrate their commitment to the sport of ice hockey. O’Leary, PEI is this year’s winner. They get to host a preseason NHL game and receive $100,000 in arena upgrades. We’ve tried to get Kraft Hockeyville but haven’t had any success.
Hosting Hometown Hockey is also a big deal for the Highland Storm Minor Hockey Association. We’ve been told they will be playing games throughout the weekend in both Haliburton and Minden and that their players – in jerseys – will be encouraged to attend the events. It’s expected Slone and the Hometown Hockey mascot could drop in at any time. Imagine being a young hockey player with a chance of being seen on national television?
County Warden Brent Devolin and CAO Mike Rutter are ecstatic, too. They say this event will pump more than $1 million into the local community. They base that on the fact Rogers will bring a crew of 40-60 people. They’ll need places to stay and places to eat. The committee also expects some out-of-towners to drive to Haliburton for the event. They’ll bring money to spend as well.
People will soon realize the significance of this event, especially when Rogers lets the committee in on all its plans. We’re expecting Rogers’ schedule any day now. That’s when the public will begin to get really excited and realize just how big a deal this is.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.