CALGARY, AB -- Wednesday's pre-season battle against the Arizona Coyotes marks a special chapter in the history of Sylvan Lake, AB.
In late January, the town lost an iconic building when the Sylvan Lake Arena's roof collapsed. Like many small towns, the arena was a major hub in the community and the collapse sparked Sylvan Lake's campaign to host 2014's KRAFT Hockeyville game.
"Since then, it's been a process of gathering the community and rebuilding," town mayor Sean McIntyre told NHL.com.
The town ended up beating out 15 other Canadian communities, not only receiving an NHL pre-season game, youth clinics, officials clinics and alumni from both franchises taking part in the festivities leading up to the game.
The Sylvan Lake Multi-Plex, which is located next to the old Sylvan Lake Arena, has
720 bleacher seats, as well as extra seating in the Upper Viewing area for 200, and will be jam-packed on Wednesday evening.
"It's going to be fun to go back and play in a small barn, a nice tight atmosphere and group," Curtis Glencross stated. "There's going to be a lot of kids there so it's going to be nice to go and play for those kids.
"It's too bad the rink couldn't hold more people, so more people could come and enjoy the game. But I know the town of Sylvan Lake and all the players are excited to go there. They worked hard and put a good campaign on to win the whole event."
For Glencross, who lives in central Alberta during the off-season, the game is something of a homecoming.
"I love living in central Alberta. It's good grass-roots. Lots of small towns. A lot of good people.
"It's going to be fun to go back there and give back to such a good small community."
Flames defenceman Kris Russell hails from Caroline, AB, just 71 km southwest of Sylvan Lake, so this game holds a lot meaning.
"It's big for that community, especially with what happened to their rink," Russell told CalgaryFlames.com. "The community came together and the surrounding communities came together to get KRAFT Hockeyville there.
"I grew up playing against Sylvan Lake so I've played a lot of games in that arena. It's pretty special to go back, especially with that atmosphere. I think it's going to be a really cool day."
The puck drops at 5:00 PM MT at the Sylvan Lake Multi-Plex. Sportsnet 360, CBC, and the NHL Network will be broadcasting the game. CBC will also be streaming the game on cbcsports.ca.
FLAMES HOCKEYVILLE ROSTER
FORWARDS: Curtis Glencross, Max Reinhart, Josh Jooris, Sven Baertschi, Joe Colborne, Mason Raymond, Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, Michael Ferland, David Wolf, Turner Elson, Brian McGrattan, Morgan Klimchuk
DEFENCEMEN: Kris Russell, Deryk Engelland, Raphael Diaz, Brett Kulak, Patrick Sieloff, Sheldon Brookbank, John Ramage
GOALTENDERS: Joni Ortio, Doug Carr