Twillingate unsure when Hockeyville preseason game will be played
The coronavirus threw a pandemic-sized monkey wrench into the 2020-21 NHL regular season, wiping out any chance the teams would be able to start play last fall.
Of course, that meant the cancellation of any preseason games. It also meant the postponement of Twillingate’s planned hosting of an NHL preseason game.
The town won the opportunity to host the game after being named the 2020 Kraft Hockeyville winner.
Recently, the call for nominations for the 2021 Hockeyville competition have started going out, but that doesn’t have the town thinking its game will be going away.
“No matter what, Twillingate is still ‘Kraft Hockeyville 2020’ and I’m sure the NHL is doing their best to ensure that we get our event at a time when it makes sense for them and the health and safety of everyone can be guaranteed,” Twillingate recreation director Jeff Blackler stated in an email.
Blackler said the town has been in contact with the people behind the event about the status of the game. The NHL has inquired about the dimensions of the George Hawkins Memorial Arena and about the places where outdoor events could be hosted in town.
Things continue to move on the merchandising side. The town got some Twillingate Hockeyville-themed gear in before Christmas, which sold well.
People were able to pick up shirts, toques, hats and plush puffins, among other things.
“The response we got and our sales were amazing, and the timing worked out really well with it leading up to Christmas,” said Blackler. “We are looking forward to placing another merchandise order soon with new logos that the NHL created that are more Twillingate-specific.”
The preseason game was just one part of the prize that came with the title of Hockeyville 2020.
Twillingate also received $250,000 that will go toward renovations at the George Hawkins Memorial Arena, as well as $10,000 worth of hockey equipment from the NHLPA’s Goals & Dreams Fund.
The equipment arrived in town earlier this week, and Twillingate Mayor Grant White said they will work with the minor hockey association about how best to distribute it.
As for the arena renovations, the town has received the money for that and has recently identified areas of focus where the money could go, such as the roof, the purchase of a new ice resurfacer and upgrades to its aging ice plant.
Twillingate has applied for additional government funding with hopes of expanding that Hockeyville money even further.
“We’re trying to stretch it as far as we can,” said White.