Music, smiling faces, laughter and, of course, the Stanley Cup, made for one heck of a time as a few hundred people crammed into Corner Brook City Hall on Saturday morning for the official opening of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.
“Don’t tell the fire department,” said Mayor Jim Parsons as he remarked on the size of the crowd that gathered.
The celebration was a stark contrast to the mood in the city just one week ago.
“Last Saturday we weren’t thinking about Hockey Day in Canada,” said Parsons.
On Jan. 13, at about the exact time as the opening took place, around 11 a.m., the city was activating its emergency operation centre and the public works team had already spent the night dealing with water breaks, washouts and floods.
That all led to the city declaring a state of emergency.
The next day things started to improve and Parsons said the thoughts turned back to Hockey Day in Canada. Parsons called it an incredible event and thanked all those responsible for bringing it to the city.
“Let’s kick this thing off and get the party started,” he said, getting a loud cheer from the crowd.
Among those hanging out in the crowd, and anxiously awaiting a chance to get close to the Stanley Cup, was Matthew Janes.
The 11-year-old came with his family from Burlington, just over 220 kilometres from the city, for Hockey Day.
“I like hockey,” he said with enthusiasm.
While he doesn’t play on a team, Janes said he plays a lot of pond hockey in Burlington.
But he does have a favourite when it comes to NHL teams, and that’s the Montreal Canadiens. His favourite player is the Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Janes said he loved getting to see the Stanley Cup.
Tony Chaisson was in the right place at the right time when it came to his Stanley Cup experience.
Chaisson hopped in the back of the truck that carried the Cup from city hall to the civic centre, where all the Hockey Day action was happening.
“It was very nice. It’s good to see so many people out and taking part into everything that’s happening.
“It’s a lifetime dream, very seldom do we ever have anything come to our province like this.”