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Guelph Hockeyville Day a major disappointment

As I write this email, which may be my last one for Guelph is Hockeyville 2012, I do it with mixed emotions.
This is the second year that I have tried to get Guelph nominated as Kraft Hockeyville 2012. We had a great committee this year, with new and old friends, and I wanted to write a few words to thank all those who stepped up to help this year.
For all of those who helped out, even if in a small way, I thank you.
The many events I/we attended were a lot of fun, and it was great meeting new people and others as interested as I am in the great game of hockey.
However, the Hockeyville Day (on Jan. 22) that we had planned for a long time, which took up volunteers’ free time and businesses’ time, was not a success, and I just can’t figure out why. I do know it was not for a lack of advertising or promotion.
I think that if some of the organizations that use the ice surfaces in the city would have got involved from the start, Hockeyville could have been a great success. But I did not see them, and I barely heard from them.
For those Guelphites who either had no time or were just not interested in Hockeyville, or the bid to host an NHL pre-season hockey game or get a $100,000 makeover for Exhibition Arena, I respect that.
For the people of Guelph who would want to be at the front of the line or in line to attend an NHL pre-season game if it were played here in Guelph, I would hope they were the supporters of the Guelph is Hockeyville bid.
It will still be a bit of time before we know if we are in the top 15 or not. I still hope.
To those of you who did help out, you will be the ones at the front of the line with the best seats in the house if we do make it, and I can say that for sure.
Guelph is Hockeyville . . . at least in my eyes, and I know in some of yours it is as well.
Mike Nelson
Chair Guelph is Hockeyville 2012

One Response to “Guelph Hockeyville Day a major disappointment”

  1. thecommish888 says:

    Dear Mike,

    While I can understand that you would be frustrated in having something that you and others worked so hard on not come to fruition, I’m not sure a “where were you?” letter to the rest of the city was your best option.

    You stated that you believed the lack of response was definitely NOT due to lack of advertising and promotion. I live half a kilometre from Exhibition Park Arena, and never heard a word about the event until it had already happened. I don’t know what form of advertising you did, but man, if it was up to me I wouldn’t have stopped promoting this thing until I knew I had the following I thought was suitable. Was it promoted city wide, because let’s not forget that there is a large population in the south end of Guelph that I’m sure would love a twin-pad (or more!) in their neck of the woods, and probably deservedly so.

    Does that mean I don’t think the EPA deserves a $100G makeover? Absolutely not. It, along with Centennial, could use a cash infusion, but I, as probably are you, am unaware of any City plans to help out these old barns. While they still represent what is pure about hockey to guys like us, maybe the younger generation would like to see a newer rink with great amenities, like some of our neighbouring cities have.

    In that light however, you are up against a pretty high wall in the Hockeyville competition. If you look at the winning locations since 2006, the largest winning population was North Bay, with 54,000 – less than half that of Guelph. Only BC, Nova Scotia, Nfld., Quebec and Ontario have won, with an Ontario town taking it twice already. Perhaps the other provinces and territories are due. I wish I was on the Committee to choose and new their line of thinking, but I can only read about what has happened in the past, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Guelph.

    Is Guelph a hockey town? No, it’s a hockey CITY now. I come from Peterborough (sorry, rest assured I’m a Guelphite now!) where hockey is as popular as it is in Guelph, and the similarities between the two cities made me feel at home when I first moved here. Small town feel, but some of the advantages of a slightly larger city. It’s people like you, Mike, who give Guelph that feel. I thank you and all your supporters for trying to make a difference for your neighbourhood and your city – there should be more like you.

    However, I think the issue here is bigger than lack of support for a Hockeyville bid. The City needs to recognize that arenas like Exhibition Park, Centennial and Victoria Rd. are where our kids are spending their ice time, and they deserve better in a city the size of Guelph. Perhaps rather than importing light standards from Italy (surely a North American supplier could have provided something suitable at a fraction of the price) they could throw a few extra dollars into sprucing up our rinks. The downtown skating rink is a start; it’s a throwback, and has been used quite extensively by Guelphites this “winter.” But it doesn’t solve our hockey/ringette issue.

    I’m sorry things didn’t work out as you would have liked Mike, but maybe the wrong tree is being barked up here. Maybe we should be petitioning City Hall to help us out. And not just with arenas, but all sports and arts facilities in Guelph. These are places where people go for fun, and are woven deeply into our culture.

    Maybe your efforts will pay off someday, Mike, don’t be too discouraged.

    Scott Berwick

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

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