By Craig Westcott | The Pearl
Mount Pearl city councillors were still bathing in the afterglow last week of the successful staging of Rogers Hometown Hockey at the Glacier the weekend before and the showcasing of the city to millions of viewers across Canada.
"It was wonderful to see our city showcased in the way that it was," said councillor Andrew Ledwell. "I know our minor hockey association certainly valued what happened during the weekend... It was a tremendous weekend and certainly made me proud to be from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador."
Councillor Lucy Stoyles started her remarks with an admission. "I didn't think I was going to be excited about Hometown Hockey," she said. "Then it started and I started attending the events. The parade of lights and seeing all those young people who were so excited, the boys and girls with their hockey jerseys on, it was so amazing. Rogers did a fantastic job."
Councillor Andrea Power was equally praiseworthy and said she invited the crew back to do it again. She thanked television hosts Tara Sloan and Ron MacLean for being so gracious. "I want to give a huge shout-out to the organizing team," she added. "And the list goes on and on and on in terms of boots on the ground, making it happen... And they could not say enough about our staff. That really speaks to the level of cooperation and enthusiasm we have here in the City."
Power said a very special moment was the honouring of Mount Pearl Blades hockey dad and coach Keith Hendry, who died in an accident just days before the start of the Hometown Hockey weekend. Hendry's family was honoured in a ceremony at centre ice.
Councillor Bill Antle allowed while he is not a "hockey guy," he did enjoy the whole weekend. "I thought it was great, and our staff did great," Antle said. "They (the Rogers crew) were really well organized."
Mayor Dave Aker deemed the event a tremendous success.
"The Rogers people were very professional," Aker said. "They knew what they wanted and they were good and skilled at communicating and putting off the final show. I think it put the City of Mount and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in a very, very good light. Our sense of community really shone that night."
Aker said the biggest partner in the event was the City of Mount Pearl itself and its staff did a great job. "It was a huge team effort all the way across the board and I have no doubt if councillor Power's invitation gets accepted, we will be able to step up in time again. To all the city staff who represented the City of Mount Pearl, thank you very, very much."
Aker noted one of the legacies of the weekend was a $15,000 donation from the Ted Rogers Foundation to the Mount Pearl Youth Opportunity Fund. "That money will go to a lot of youth development in this city for years to come. It's a great addition to the fund," said the mayor. "And hats off to Scotiabank who was a major sponsor as well of Hometown Hockey. They donated $5,000 to the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association."