Since it began in 2006, the Kraft Hockeyville competition has become one of the exciting events in Canada. Small towns from across the country vie for that special night when two NHL teams visit, play an exhibition games and provide memories that last a lifetime.
With the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres set to put on a show for the people of Dundas, Ontario on Tuesday night, NHL.com looks back at the previous four events leading up to what promises to be an exciting weekend:
2006 -- After more than 450 initial entries, the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville game was played in Salmon River, N.S. The Montreal Canadiens cruised past the Ottawa Senators in a 7-3 victory at Colchester Legion Stadium. Along with hosting the game, the town of Salmon River also received $10,000 worth of hockey equipment and $50,000 in arena upgrades.
2007 -- Garnet Exelby scored in overtime to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 4-3 win against the New York Islanders in North Bay, Ont. Joey Crabb scored twice, and Brett Sterling added a goal for the Thrashers, who squandered a 3-1 lead before redeeming themselves in the extra session.
"I was able to sit down and relax with my friends and my family," North Bay resident Brad Gavan said. "To see the hockey come to North Bay … it was awesome. To see fathers with their sons or daughters, walking around and seeing the smiles on their faces … that’s why we did it. You do it for the win, but you also do it for the memories. I'm never going to win the Stanley Cup, but winning Hockeyville was North Bay's Stanley Cup. You can never take that away from us."
2008 -- The Canadiens traveled about six hours to the north and earned a 3-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at Roberval, Que. Tomas Plekanec scored twice for the Habs and Andrei Kostitsyn added a shorthanded tally at Benoit Levesque Arena.
"I never thought I'd be back in this region in an exhibition game with the Montreal Canadiens and be behind the bench," Habs coach Guy Carbonneau said. "It's always fun. I still have a lot of friends that came down from Chicoutimi and are in the region. To see those people smile and have the chance to see two NHL teams, I think it's a great experience for everybody."
2009 -- Playing in Terrace, B.C., the Vancouver Canucks edged the Islanders by a 2-1 score. Sergei Shirokov scored both goals for the Canucks, including a backhander midway through the third period. Both teams saluted the fans after the game, and 40 people left the rink with autographed jerseys.
"Usually most exhibition games -- especially in the big buildings -- it's half-empty," Vancouver goalie Andrew Raycroft said afterwards. "There's not a whole lot of excitement, but obviously that was not the case tonight. It was fun. Obviously, it's a great idea. Everyone around gets excited for it. We enjoy it. It's kind of fun to come up and see some new parts of the country. It's nice to mix it up early in the year."
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