STIRLING-RAWDON, Ontario – Kraft Hockeyville 2012 is already being considered a success, but there was a time when it was nearly over before it got started.
Of all things to get this town of about 1,900 revved up for hockey, it took a couple’s wedding nuptials to get people motivated for Hockeyville.
"Our first two events, we hardly had anybody out," said Cindy Brandt, the chairperson who led the charge to bring Hockeyville here. "We had a Hockeyville wedding down at the covered bridge then we walked our 'Highway to Hockeyville’ (to the rink) as we called it. Instead of a ring, they passed a Stanley Cup and the bride promised to bring her husband and his friends beer and party snacks for Hockey Night In Canada.
"After that, people were like, 'What are these people doing?' Before we knew it, people were phoning us with, 'When’s your next event? There’s nothing on your Web site.' It just happened that way. I think people bought into it because we were doing odd things just to try to increase awareness."
The three-day event started in the morning at the Stirling & District Recreation Centre, which will receive $100,000 in upgrades thanks to winning the Hockeyville contest, with Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Manley conducting figure-skating classes. Sunday concluded with an alumni game that featured hometown hero Rob Ray, Gary Leeman, Matthew Barnaby and Brad Marsh among others.
But for Brandt, who is Ray's sister, having the Stanley Cup on display for pictures for three hours and a parade with the trophy as the centerpiece meant the most to her.