The crisp, cool air this past weekend didn't seem to hinder hockey enthusiasts from enjoying their time playing shinny on Windsor's historic Long Pond alongside celebrity hockey stars.
And the snowstorm that blanketed the area last Wednesday didn't deter a sizable crowd from attending a public meeting to hear more about plans to build a new rink.
Flipping through the Journal this week, it's easy to tell hockey is in our veins.
From our coverage of the Birthplace of Hockey Long Pond Heritage Classic and the proposed new arena, to the Avon River Rats playoff dreams being dashed in overtime and the Valley Maple Leafs taking over top spot in the local Jr. B standings, it's clear we embrace Canada's national pastime.
What's more, we're slowly getting the knack of promoting it better.
Last weekend's Long Pond Heritage Classic proves that. Five former NHLers converged on Windsor to play in a series of fun, friendly games as part of a fundraiser for the local hockey museum.
By all accounts, the festival was a successful one, and has a bright future for years to come.
But, like any new venture, there are things that can be improved upon.
Communication with the public is key, and while word of mouth is important, it's limited in scope. To reach the masses, more effort has to be put in to draw visitors from across the Maritimes, as well as to secure more buy-in from the local community.
Among the suggestions we've heard that would help make the event more appealing to visitors is incorporating shuttles to alleviate the limited parking available at the site, inviting more vendors to set up, providing portable bleachers for optimal game viewing, and adding a live band. While they're just suggestions, going forward, they may help attract a wider array of visitors.
The organizers behind the successful Long Pond event should be commended for their efforts. They've created an event that not only highlights our region and promotes active living, but celebrates the town's rich hockey heritage and leaves visitors with a favourable image of Windsor. As far as fundraisers go, it's a perfect fit.
But hockey-mania is far from over. The Jr. B squad is gearing up for playoffs, and, in just their second year of operation, they have a real chance at taking the Nova Scotia title. Fan support is vital in order to keep the Leafs in the game, as icing a hockey team is a costly venture.
This weekend will see another hockey fundraiser get underway. This time, residents are encouraged to watch Hantsport and Windsor firefighters take on RCMP officers at the Hants Exhibition Arena. The game, on Sunday, will benefit New Boundaries – a non-profit organization aimed at providing adults with diverse abilities with opportunities to build upon vocational, social and life skills. The puck drops at 3:15 p.m.
With the buzz surrounding a new arena in the air, connections with NHL stars growing, and quality hockey being played right here, the future looks quite promising for the Little Town of Big Firsts.