I remember Danny Cormier scoring and fighting. I remember doing my homework at intermission because we couldn’t miss the game. I remember Tony Basha zigzagging around the rink selling 50/50 tickets from a nail apron. I remember senior hockey leagues growing and folding, growing and folding under the weight of player salaries, rising ticket prices and waning support.
The recent reboot of local senior hockey, with cheap tickets and without imports, has been a hit. Over 2,000 fans showed up Saturday to watch a game that had plenty of goals, lots of action and a few scraps. The atmosphere was fantastic and I got to do something I’ve never done before: sell 50/50 tickets.
Now, selling 50/50 isn’t for the faint of heart. There are gentle jabs about selling them the wrong ticket last week, couples getting ahead of themselves (“She’ll split it with me if she wins. No I won’t!”), getting caught in your fibs (“You already told me ‘this’ was the lucky one!”), but not a single word in anger or frustration. Just playful ribbing, steady wit and barbless rebukes.
The fries and popcorn were flying from the canteen. They couldn’t sell beer fast enough and the 50/50 jackpot was one of the biggest in memory. Even the Deer Lake fans seemed to be having a good time despite the lopsided score.
Everyone was enjoying a family friendly, inexpensive Saturday night out. It was painfully obvious that we don’t gather in large numbers as a community nearly enough.
Sporting and cultural events like this bring people into town and get local dollars moving. More importantly, they get us off the couch and talking to our neighbours and old friends. They remind us we’re part of a community. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to the organizers and volunteers.
Jim Parsons, Chair, Downtown Business Association