Seeing a community band together to put off a fine show for the country to watch gave Bruce Keating a sense of pride he’s never felt before.
Keating was the driving force behind the host committee for the 2018 Hockey Day in Canada celebrations held in Corner Brook last week.
Putting out the welcome mat for the largest event hosted by the City of Corner Brook since the 1999 Canada Winter Games was a major undertaking for a host committee that had just over five months to put a plan in place.
Keating said Sportsnet officials told him early in the game that Corner Brook was chosen as this year’s host because of its reputation for being able to take on big events and deliver a wonderful experience for those involved.
It appears Keating and his committee, through the hundreds of volunteers who were all smiles and in an upbeat mood as they lent a helping hand, didn’t disappoint the Sportsnet team that came into the city to welcoming arms from people of all walks of life and age groups.
A short conversation with Sportsnet president Scott Moore before he left the city told Keating everything he needed to hear when it comes to feedback on how the event went.
“I guess Corner Brook won’t have any problem attracting these sort of events in the future,” Keating said of the brief chat with Moore on Monday afternoon.
Keating and his committee members all felt things went better than they expected, especially given the extra challenge of dealing with flooding and structural damage throughout the region after a crazy rainstorm pounded the west coast days before the big celebration was going to unfold.
“We’re just over the moon over it. I think everybody is just really thrilled about how well it all came together,” he said.
The Music of Hockey event at Marble Mountain on Wednesday was sold out. The gala banquet on Thursday night was full to capacity. Both the NHL/Corner Brook Royals Classic and the West Coast Senior Hockey League game between the Royals and Stephenville Jets had capacity crowds on hand.
It’s safe to say Corner Brook had the big guns out in full force to executive a game-plan and the people rallied — they stepped up to volunteer in the cold or spent the day at the rink cheering on the players — so Keating couldn’t be any happier.
“The support from the community has absolutely been more than you could ask for and absolutely essential to making the event the kind of success it is,” he said.
He heard some neat stories from different folks during the week and he shared some of his own. He got pictures and autographs as keepsakes, and got to know committee members a little better from working as a team toward a common goal.
“So many people left this week with their memories,” he said. “Every single day there was special moments and special memories.”