Placentia to welcome NHL alumni
Group will play exhibition game with local team
If you’re a fan of the National Hockey League, chances are you’ve dreamt about playing on the same ice as your hockey heroes.
Maybe you’ve thought of what it would be like to streak down the left wing and corral a pass from a professional. Either way, it’s been your dream to play with or against them.
Now, a group of hockey alumni in Placentia are going to get their chance to do just that when they take to the ice for a matchup with a group of NHL alumni in an exhibition match being held at the Unity PARC Arena on Oct. 14.
“We put together a local team,” said Placentia Mayor Wayne Power. “It is a mixture of older players and some players who recently graduated from the local minor hockey system.
“A lot of local players jumped at the opportunity to play against them.”
It isn’t the first time NHL alumni have skated at rinks in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region. In 2014, a group participated in a game at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts, while the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace has welcomed both the Boston Bruins alumni and Montreal Canadians alumni in recent years.
A strong lineup
It will be no easy task for the local team to get a win over the alumni. They’ll be bringing with them of the top-5 defencemen of all time in Ray Bourque.
According to Steve Walton, NHL Legends tour president, the 19-time NHL all-star is in “wicked shape” and will cutting around the Placentia ice in fine form.
Along with Bourque, the NHL team will feature the likes of Al Iafrate, Dennis Maruk, Gary Leeman, Mathieu Dandenault and Darius Kasparaitus, just to name a few.
“We have quite the combination of golden era hockey legends,” said Walton. “They’ll be putting on a show.”
“There is a lot of excitement as we get closer to the date,” said Power. “It should be a good evening. There will be time for autographs.” The NHL Legends tour gets started in Deer Lake and hits a couple of spots on the island before reaching Placentia this week.
“This will be our first time in Placentia,” said Walton. “We looked at coming (to Placentia) before, but the timing never worked out.
“We’re looking forward to it.”
When last the group visited the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region in Bay Roberts in March of 2014, the event was well-received by the fans and the community as a whole, but Bay Roberts lost upwards to $13,000 when all the bills had been paid.
“Those were some of the concerns we had as well,” said Power. “With the arrangement we have worked out, we’re hoping those worries won’t be there.”
Apart from seeing the sometimes tucked away beauty of the province, the alumni most look forward to interacting with the adults and seeing the children’s reactions to meeting players they’ve only heard their parents talk about.
“The kids are No. 1,” said Walton. “When we see the smiles on the faces of the kids, it’s great. Some of these players retired before these kids were born, but their faces light up like they’re seeing Sidney Crosby.
“I don’t know who cries more, the parents or the kids. See the smiles make it all worth it for the guys.”
“It is going to be a great season opener to kick fof the hockey season in Placentia,” said Power.
The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception with the players. Tickets are needed for both events.
For more information, contact the Placentia town hall at (709) 227-2151.
The last time a group of NHL Alumni were in town, Dennis Maruk got in goal for a game against a local squirt division team. Perhaps Maruk, who will be in Placentia on Wednesday, will pull a similar trick.