By Steve Mears
Islanders play-by-play broadcaster
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) As the Yarmouth portion of the Islanders' 2006-2007 training camp comes to an end, I wanted to get a local perspective on the team's visit. We've heard from the players and coaches who have been given a second home here in this small Nova Scotia town. But what does it mean to this community to have the Islanders' Training Camp here? Prior to Tuesday's Blue-White game, I walked through a packed Mariners Centre and asked local hockey fans to share their thoughts on this entire experience:
"It's great for Yarmouth and great for the young people," said Darlene Babin. "Having the Islanders here brings people into Yarmouth and it's also great for our minor hockey programs."
"This is great that Yarmouth had a chance to host this camp and we get to watch great hockey," said fifteen-year old Normand d'Entremont. "This is a packed house and it's great to see NHL action here. I'm looking forward to seeing DiPietro."
"Well it's certainly a great boost to our area," said Steve Adams, who is the Head Usher at the Mariners Centre. "We're a small community, so we're not used to seeing such an event. It's had a great economic impact and it's a real treat to have this caliber of hockey here. I've enjoyed getting to know the players. They're all very friendly and have lots of time for the kids and autographs. They're all very professional."
"The best thing is that the young kids in the community can see pro athletes and can see what they can achieve if they want to pursue something like this," said Jamie Hood. "A lot of people can't afford to go to the big cities all the time to see this, so it puts us on the map throughout the province. It's great to see our community supporting it so well."
"It means a lot to the town and I've never seen so much excitement here," said Rick Potti. "People here are anxious to see them and we don't get things like this here too often, so it's great for the economy and the people. Everything is faster. They shoot harder, pass quicker, skate faster. It's amazing."
"It's cool," said ten-year old Brandon Hurlburt.
"Having the Islanders here brings in different people and media and puts our small town on the map," said Stephanie Woodreau. "I can't wait to see Rick DiPietro."
"I don't watch much hockey, but I'm here with my father and it's been great so far," said Heather Devine. "This is really fast paced with lots of action."
"You can't possibly count the overall value in dollars," said George D'Eon. "For the fans, they're loving it. The people are ecstatic. We just can't wait for them to come back. The crowd at this game is tremendous and I think the grown-ups enjoy it as much as the kids."
"It means a great deal to our economy to have the Islanders here," said Richard Crabbe. "I've lived here for fifty years and never thought I'd sit in a Yarmouth arena and see NHL hockey. I played years ago and I just can't believe how quick they are. It's not the same as watching it on TV."
"The games are very entertaining," said Roddie Dean who came to the Mariners Centre with his two-year old son. "My son's having fun. He definitely loves hockey. It's definitely a big thing for the people of the area. I drove thirty minutes from Pubnico to see the Islanders and I think our kids will now be Islanders fans."
The Islanders players and staff also had a chance to express their gratitude for the hospitality in Yarmouth. After receiving a birthday cake in the face following the game, goaltender Rick DiPietro addressed the crowd at the packed Mariners Centre and thanked them for their support throughout the week.
The Radio Booth's Three Stars of Tuesday's Blue-White Game:
3. Arron Asham He really elevated his game and made things happen offensively throughout the night for Team Torrey. #45 also stood up for a younger teammate and fought rookie defenseman Joe Grimaldi.
2. Shawn Bates The fifth-year Islander scored twice and was dominant on the faceoffs and forecheck. It was his best performance of camp thus far and you can hear and see his leadership from the stands.
1. Jeff Tambellini The best player on the iceÂ¦ and that's not the first time that phrase has been used to describe him this week. (1 goal, 1 assist).
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