On a few occasions, Rod Brown has had the chance to see his Saint John Seadogs face off for the Memorial Cup, but this year the season ticket holder is happy to have them back home.
“It’s actually my third Memorial Cup because I saw them play in Mississauga, I saw them win in Mississauga, and I also saw them play in Windsor, Ontario, where unfortunately they didn’t do well. said Brown, a Saint John resident.
Brown is one of many fans who have brought new energy to downtown Saint John in recent days for the Memorial Cup.
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Fans from across the country flocked to the harbor town for the hockey. But it was the host city and its endless list of Memorial Cup events that stole the show.
Montreal’s Yoland Gilbert came out to support his Shawinigan Cataractes, and while he didn’t have too much time to explore, first impressions were positive.
“Other than the game, hockey games, not yet, but right now I’m walking to area 506 to visit the place to see what it’s like – it looks awesome,” he said. he declared, while proudly donning a Cataract hat.
Since Saint John won the right to call itself the host of the 2022 Memorial Cup, organizers have let it be known that it will be about more than hockey.
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Events that began after the trophy was extravagantly delivered by helicopter included activities, concerts and guest speakers.
Much of the action — outside of the games — took place at the newly opened Area 506 waterfront container village, where musicians entertained fans before the puck was dropped.
“We saw queues waiting to see our performances as we lined up all the way down graffiti alley here in the waterfront container village, and it’s really good to see where people are really excited to go out, enjoy the weather, soak up the sun and enjoy the hospitality of Saint John,” said Ray Gracewood, local events manager for the Memorial Cup and founder of the 506 region.
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Even fans unable to attend the game were able to watch the action from the screen in the Container Village Concert Hall, Gracewood said.
When asked what has made Saint John successful in its hosting role, Gracewood called its approach a “multi-faceted event” that uses all the strengths of the region to offer something for everyone.
Gracewood believes the tournament not only helped reestablish Saint John as a welcoming city, but also enhanced its site.
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“Comments about how unique the place is and how fresh it is, not just in the region, but across Canada, is a great indicator of the reputation we’re about to build,” Gracewood said.
The bustling downtown streets have also been a boon for local businesses, which are delighted to be able to welcome residents and tourists alike.
David Duplisea is the CEO of the Saint John Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We still see every site packed, but the estimates are over $10 million, which is a significant economic impact for our region,” Duplisea said, adding that those numbers are based on how Halifax is doing. came out of it when it hosted the tournament.
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The Memorial Cup is a catalyst, Duplisea said, which puts Saint John on the national stage, opening the door to future big events.
“Success breeds success and attention and attraction breeds attention and attraction, so the more successes we have like this, the easier it becomes to attract more of them.”
However, for many at Sea Dogs Nation, it’s for nothing if the team can’t put another championship banner in the rafters. They will continue their quest for the Memorial Cup on Saturday with a duel against Shawinigan.
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