Prince Rupert received its place in the national spotlight over the weekend with the arrival of Hometown Hockey, with reaction largely positive for the efforts of everyone involved and how the city was portrayed to the rest of the country.
Rosa Miller, one of the key names on the organizing committee who helped land the event in the first place, said she was thrilled with how the weekend went.
“It was an amazing opportunity to showcase Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert Minor Hockey and all that we have to offer and can be proud of,” Miller said. “Success isn’t by accident but only achievable with very hard work. I feel privileged to be a part of a community where we don’t shy away from that hard work but stare it right in the eye and get it done.”
|They’re Hab-ing a good time… Canadiens fan family Mia, Kiki, Launy and Linda Lam donned their Bleu-Blanc-Rouge with pride to see the Stanley Cup – a trophy Montreal has won a record 24 times. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Tara Slone, who touched down in Prince Rupert on Thursday night, was the first of the broadcast’s co-hosts in the city, but it wasn’t until the following morning that she was able to see all the city had to offer.
“It was quite a journey. I could see the mountain landscape as we were flying into Prince Rupert, but by the time we got on the ferry at 8:30 it was pitch black so I had no idea what we were in for,” Slone said of her arrival. “By the time the sun rose at 8:30 I was so pleasantly surprised, it’s just a stunning landscape here.”
|Kelly Brown, also known as Chief Canuck, made his special jersey in 2006. “Oh yeah! I am a BIG Canuck fan,” he said. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)|
Slone started her tour in town with Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) board member and Community Futures manager John Farrell. The pair had coffee at Cowpuccino’s where Farrell spoke with Slone about upcoming growth and expansion opportunities for the city. Following that Slone joined city councillor Blair Mirou for a tour of the harbour, before finishing on a trip with PRPA members to explore and learn more about the port complex.
“Here in Prince Rupert it seems like every layer you peel off there’s more and more, the history of the place itself is so fascinating,” Slone said.
“Canadians from coast-to-coast saw the beauty of the North Coast, our community good will and generosity of spirit… and sunshine,” Farrell said of the experience. “You can’t pay for that kind of exposure. Priceless.”
|Rupertite Dan Lorette (right) got called up on stage with Rogers Hometown Hockey performer Steve Goodtime. Things got hot! (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)|
Slone’s Hometown Hockey co-host Ron MacLean joined on Sunday, expressing equal enthrallment starting with the ferry ride over from the Digby Island airport.
“The ferry ride over was like glass. To see the unbelievable number of freighters in the harbour showed us business is good,” MacLean said. “Obviously the Port Authority is the new thing as far as job opportunities in the area. I can’t imagine whoever is in control of the [Port] Authority having to navigate all these boats in the open ocean.
In town we went to the Wheelhouse Pub, they are a great success story. We learned a lot when the Nine Nations welcomed us heartily to the region. We found out about the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, we had the opportunity to go out on the harbour.”
|Seawolves players stared in awe at Rogers Hometown Hockey’s segment on the Rampage as it aired on National TV. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)|
“We view this installment of our 25 [stops] this year as the prettiest, it’s going to be our screen saver show,” MacLean commented on Prince Rupert’s renowned natural beauty. “We’re really honoured to come here, we’ve done about 130 of these and some stand out for various reasons, the Pacific northwest is a kaleidoscope for the eyes.”
Prince Rupert Minor Hockey player Julia Lorette had the opportunity to join the Hometown Hockey broadcast following the conclusion of the game, and announce the three stars live on air with Ron MacLean, Tara Slone and fellow PRMHA player Josh Leighton. “It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience,” Lorette said. “Although it was a little nerve wracking, it was fun and interesting.”
|Prince Rupert minor hockey players Josh Leighton and Julia Lorette won an audition to present the three stars of the game between the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers. Leighton and Lorette got to hang in the Rogers Hometown Hockey mobile studio, meet Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, and read out the top trio of performers on national television. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
The Prince Rupert Rampage featured prominently during the broadcast, even starting off the show with a welcome to Prince Rupert message from the arena. Rampage defencemen Tyler Ostrom, whose Saturday night goal and subsequent celebration made the national broadcast, talked about what it meant for Prince Rupert to receive the Hometown Hockey visit.
“It was unreal. It was nerve wracking getting interviewed because you don’t do it everyday. But I think it will boost hockey numbers for sure. I think you’ll get more numbers in minor hockey after seeing this,” Ostrom said.
|Dwayne Roloson, Tara Slone and Kirk McLean dropped the puck at Saturday’s night Rampage matchup with the River Kings which the Rampage won 8-5. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)|
“From our perspective, the event was a great success,” Veronika Stewart, communications manager for the City, said. “The broadcast really honed in on so much of what Prince Rupert has to offer, from local sports, to Indigenous culture, to our natural beauty, and so much more. I saw hundreds of people out enjoying the event, and that made all the work that went into it so worth it.”
Stewart was also quick to credit some of the key players in landing the event. “It would not have been possible without our organizing committee, especially Rosa Miller, who were so key to organizing so many of the logistical aspects of the event. The committee also included Ron German, David Geronazzo and Tanya Ostrom.
There are also countless other community volunteers that gave back during the event. The City would like to offer a big thank you to everyone who contributed.”