Local youth hitting the ice this season will have a chance to learn from some of the greats.
The Slap Shots and Boot Stompin’ Tour is bringing a number of NHL veterans, Hockey Hall of Famers, and Stanley Cup Winners to the North Shore Recreation Centre on Oct. 17. There will be a hockey game between the Legends All-Stars and North Shore All-Stars, and a meet and greet Kitchen Party featuring music by Andy Bast and country musician Aaron Pritchett.
“They will also provide a development clinic for 30 of our children,” said Kelly Tucker, president of the Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association. “Our novice team – our youngest – will be on the ice with the group. It’s a really big deal for these kids. Not only the kids, but their families as well.”
A month before the minor hockey season was to start, Tucker said they had 100 players registered. Ice is set to go in Oct. 15, which is when their season will begin.
The event will bring NHL veteran and four-time Stanley Cup winner Mike Krushelynski, of the Edmonton Oilers, to the area. Others include NHL veteran, seven-time Stanley Cup winner, and Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Trottier, of the NY Islanders; NHL veteran Cliff Ronning, of the Vancouver Canucks; Bryan Muir, an NHL vet and Stanley Cup winner from the Colorado Avalanche; Jocelyn Lemiux; Dave McLlwain; Dennis Vial; Trevor Kidd, and more.
“This event is all about leaving a positive impact,” said Treva Hiltz, who started Legends All-Star Hockey Events in 2014. “We travel to small communities – it’s what these players love to do.”
Hitlz said there are many pressures on professional athletes, with many spending their careers in big cities.
“This gives them a chance to go out to these communities, relax, and meet true hockey fans,” said Hiltz.
The all-stars hockey game begins at 6:30 p.m. at the centre, with tickets $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
Tucker said the North Shore All-Stars team will include of multitude of players, including former minor hockey members.
“We put it out to our coaches first as a thank you for all they do, sort of thing,” said Tucker. “We’ve put it out to our adult pick-up league, and now we’re reaching outside of Tatamagouche.”
She said the response she’s gotten from those participating is excitement.
“The hockey people are just thrilled,” she said, of the community in general. “This is an event they would have had to travel to attend, and now it’s coming here.”
With a number of Stanley Cup winners, Hiltz said they’ll be bringing a lot of “bling” with them.
They’re also working on putting together a visit with students.
“We always try to make a positive impact on the schools, too,” Hiltz said.
Following the hockey game, the Kitchen Party will begin at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, and $35 at the door.
“We’re really hoping to get people up on the dancefloor. We’re going to party on a Wednesday like it’s a Friday,” laughed Hiltz. “Aaron and Andy are really looking forward to it, and the players are, too.”
The stop in Tatamagouche is the first stop of four communities on the tour. They’ll move on to Barrington, Sackville, and Chester in the three days following. The players travel throughout Canada for the event, as far west as Alberta.
“These are the most down-to-earth guys you will ever meet, and they enjoy meeting people in the community. It’s a great experience for them. For the community it’s a great experience as well while raising funds for a great organizations,” said Hiltz.
Tickets for the hockey game and Kitchen Party can be purchased at the North Shore Recreation Centre, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 902-957-2097. They can also be purchased from any of the families of minor hockey members.