Thursday, September 17, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hockeyville stories rule the news cycle for a Wednesday, the HST promises to be controversial issue in any election campaign and the never ending cycle of vandalism continues in the downtown area, some of the items of note for a Wednesday.

HOCKEYVILLE: THE MOST EXCITING EVENT OF THE YEAR-- The glow of the celebrations in Terrace, recognition of that city's success in the Hockeyville competition continued as the Daily News reviewed the events of Monday night with a front page headline story (Daily News Archives see story here )

While the election rumours have cooled off out of Ottawa these days, should there be an election call someday, one hot topic will be the HST, a tax that isn't winning many converts in the province (Daily News Archives see story here )

The city's ongoing problems with vandalism continue, as Galaxy Gardens suffers from a break and enter that leaves all of the restaurants front windows broken and the restaurant now still open, but all boarded up while they await replacement windows (Daily News Archives see story here )

Needless to say much of the focus of the Wednesday paper's sports section involved reaction to the events in Terrace on Monday night as that community celebrated the arrival of the Canucks and Islanders as part of the Hockeyville feature event.

Power Line gets Fed Dollars-- The Prime Minister made mention of it during his trip to Washington and the government released details about its involvement in the Northwest Transmission Line, part of what the government seems to envision as a continental energy grid (see story here)

Front page, headline story


Hockeyville: The most exciting event of the year
By Patrick Witwicki
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, September, 16, 2009

For years, northwestern B.C. has been hoping for a shot in the arm - something that would turn its fortunes around and get the economic engines of the region back on track.

Terrace is no exception to that rule, but years from now, they may look back at Hockeyville as the turning point.

It was a dream-come-true event for the community, and the celebration certainly lived up to its billing,which reached its climax with the Vancouver Canucks hosting the New York Islanders for an exhibition game inside the Terrace Sportsplex. The Canucks won the contest 2-1.

"Even now, you can sense the excitement," said Terrace Mayor Dave Pernorowski. "Obviously, it's drawing a lot positives."

Terrace won the right to be the Hockeyville destination back in early March during a CBC broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, but if anyone thought the Hockeyville Committee's toughest job was over, they were mistaken.

Terrace worked diligently to ensure the weekend leading up to Monday's NHL game would be memorable for everyone involved, and also play a role in putting Terrace - and Northwestern B.C. - on everyone's radar.

"You can't put a value on it," said organizing committee member Bob Park. "People flying in from New York were like, 'Wow! what a place you have here'. We had the top executives from Kraft, from the NHL, from the NHLPA, the CBC … it's hopefully showing the Northwest what tourism can do. And look what it's doing for community spirit - that's another thing you can't put a measure on.

"It's been a phenomenal three to four days."

Events were hosted in Terrace all weekend. NHL alumni players, including former Canucks Cliff Ronning, hosted a hockey jamboree for minor hockey players on Saturday, and then CBC announcer and former Canadian Olympian Cassie Campbell held a camp with the female hockey players on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Stanley Cup was on-site at George Little Park all day Sunday, and even Don Cherry was out-and-about all weekend long.

"I can't say what it meant to have the Stanley Cup here," said Park. "People lined up for three hours just to see it."

But the real celebrations began early Monday morning. First, the New York Islanders arrived at the Terrace Sportsplex shortly after 9 a.m., and while their top rookie John Tavares was nowhere to be found, every single Islander took the time to sign as many autographs as possible.

But the majority of fans were waiting for the Canucks arrival, and just before 11 a.m., the bus arrived.

Again, the Canucks biggest stars, like goaltender Roberto Luongo and forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin, were nowhere to be seen, but veteran defencemen Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell - Vancouver's closest player for a Northern B.C. boy, as Mitchell is from Port McNeil on Vancouver Island - were on-hand, busy signing autographs.

Bieksa and Mitchell then provided fans with a treat during the Canucks practice. The remainder of the Canucks had left the ice, but Bieksa and Mitchell participated in their own version of a mini-skills competition, which quickly had the Terrace crowd going crazy.

Neither Bieksa nor Mitchell would play in Monday night's contest, but both players were busy Monday afternoon, visiting various Elementary schools in Terrace to help inspire the region's youth. Jeff Tambellini from the New York Islanders also participated (for more on reaction from the NHL's perspective on

Hockeyville, see page 6.)

"I'm from a small town, so I know what it can be like," said Mitchell. "We're kind of here just to reward you guys. It's for the players to bring our league to a small community like this, and it's exciting to be here."

Monday afternoon, a pep rally was held in George Little Park, which would eventually include a huge 15-foot screen so that Terrace people could watch the game, even though they didn't have tickets to get into the Sportsplex.

Then, at the game, Kraft presented Terrace with a cheque for $100,000 to be used towards a recreation
facility upgrade.

Nathan Cullen, MP for the Skeena and Bulkley Valley, was also on-hand for the event.
"This is all about the Northwest," he said. "This is huge. Terrace has done us proud.
"I can't wait to see what we do next."

Cullen resides in Smithers, a northern B.C. community that went after Hockeyville back in 2006, but finished second in the running.

But he said that all communities in the Northwest played a role in helping Terrace win Hockeyville, including Smithers who showed there were "no hard feelings".

"I talk to a lot of people involved, and they feel they've been able to contribute," said Cullen. "This helps bond a community."

Pernorowski added: "What's good for Terrace, is good for Rupert, Smithers, Kitimat, Hazelton … everyone.

It's about showcasing the area and to show what a great place we live in."

At the conclusion of the game, the Canucks and Islanders all presented 40 lucky fans with an autographed jersey, and then on cue, they all raised their sticks to salute the Terrace fans who had just witnessed history.

"The amount of publicity we got out of this is incredible," said Park. "Terrace has been great."

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