KAMLOOPS — Stompin' Tom Connors may have said it best. "The good old hockey game is the best game you can name." Over four days in early February, hockey fans in Kamloops proved the lyric true, as they came out in droves to support the variety of events put on as part of ScotiaBank's Hockey Day in Canada.
It all kicked off Wednesday in Sun Peaks, as the Stanley Cup arrived in style, coming down off the mountain, and greeted by a number of Stanley Cup champions. There was the luncheon on Thursday, attended by 1200 hockey fans, as well as a number of school visits, photos ops, and hockey clinics throughout the week. Chair of the local organizing committee, Jim Rose said the response from the community has been outstanding. "Kamloops is THE hockey town," said Rose, "We're just overwhelmed with the support and the comments we're getting. It's just good to see [the community] come out and support [Hockey Day in Canada]."
Tom Renney coached the Kamloops Blazers for two seasons, winning 101 games, while losing just 37. After winning the Memorial Cup in 1992, he went on coach the National Team and several NHL clubs. Now President of Hockey Canada, Renney remembers his time in Kamloops fondly. "It's a great environment," Renney said, when asked about Kamloops' love of hockey. "Clearly anyone that's played here or coached here know's that, and when you've had the good fortune to win, you know that even more."
After witnessing the response from the community, both Renney and Rose are excited to see the energy Kamloops residents will bring to the upcoming 2016 IIHF Women's World Championships, to be held here in the spring. "Being able to come back to host the Women's World Championship here, on the heels of Hockey Day in Canada is outstanding, of course," said Renney. According to Rose "[The community] comes out and support everything you put on. Right up to the Women's [World Championships]... [Kamloops] is the place to have it. There's no doubt."
For the next few months, at least in Kamloops, the best game you can name is the good ol' hockey game.
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