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MARQUETTE, Mich. - Marquette, Michigan, is Kraft Hockeyville USA, and Lakeview Arena will play host to a nationally-televised preseason match between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
It's a national event on a small-town stage.
"I think it's going to be vibrant," head coach Bill Peters said. "It will be energized. The fans are going to be great. It's fun to be a part of Kraft Hockeyville and bring NHL hockey to a small community."
Lakeview Arena, which first opened in 1974, received $150,000 in upgrades, including updates to the locker rooms, Zamboni, lights, sound system, glass and more.
"You hear the story of Lowes' donating the paint and then the volunteers to paint the whole arena," Peters said. "Those are great stories, and that reminds me of being a kid, helping out at the local rink and doing anything you could to keep the doors open and the lights on."
"It brings back memories of when I was a little kid, playing in these types of rinks," defenseman Noah Hanifin said. "I think it's a really good event just to spread the game and show people who may not be able to see NHL games as much what it's all about. I'm definitely excited to be able to play in this game."
The stands, a mix of bleachers and wooden seats, will be packed by 3,100 fans on Tuesday night. With a low ceiling and tight quarters, it might get a bit raucous, as Marquette and Lakeview Arena are showcased on NBCSN.
"You almost feel like the fans are on top of you when you're playing," Hanifin said. "It will probably be really loud, and people will be up close. It will be pretty cool."
"It's an intimate setting, and we all grew up playing in small rinks at one time or another," Peters said. "If you're a small-town guy, you know exactly what's going on."
Red Carpet Arrival
There wasn't a literal red carpet, but when the Hurricanes arrived at the rink on Tuesday morning, they signed autographs and took pictures with local fans before heading in for their morning skate.
Hey, It's Stormy!
Yep, Stormy made the trip to the Upper Peninsula, too.
A Special Guest
Marquette local Doug Satterlund was surprised with tickets for tonight's game, and his reaction, tweeted by the NHL on Monday, is just terrific.
Peters caught wind of this and wanted to make this morning even more special for Satterlund. So, he brought him out on the ice for a picture with the Canes.