Hockey Night in Brantford is growing beyond what organizer Brant MP Phil McColeman could have hoped for.
While announcing on Friday that Paris native Zac Dalpe of the Carolina Hurricanes would take part in the homecoming game on Aug. 15 at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, McColeman couldn’t contain his excitement.
“This has turned in to the most wonderful event that we could have imagined,” McColeman said during a news conference at the Brant Sports Complex. “We want the public to know that it’s much more than a homecoming game now. You can come early and enjoy all the other festivities.”
Dalpe’s participation – along with the previous announcement that the New Jersey Devils’ Adam Henrique will take part – means that both of the area’s current NHLers will be involved.
The roster also includes a list of past hockey stars from the area, including former NHLer and current Boston Bruins assistant coach Doug Jarvis, Stanley Cup-winning defenceman Jay Wells and Brantford Smoke and Brantford Blast favourite Paul Polillo.
MPs including Minister of Defence Peter MacKay and Minister of Transport Denis Lebel will also take part.
But it isn’t having a near-full roster of players that has McColeman so excited.
As he thanked Dalpe for taking time in his summer schedule to take part, McColeman also announced a slate of events that have turned Hockey Night in Brantford into an entire evening of hockey-related activities.
The Hockey Hall of Fame will bring its mobile display to the Gretzky centre and feature a collection of Brant-specific memorabilia, thanks to the sponsorship of Davis Fuels.
The Hockey Hall of Fame will also bring interactive displays, along with the NHL’s Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward, which Jarvis won in 1984, and the Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player, which Wayne Gretzky won nine times.
The Zamboni company, which has its Canadian office on Morton Street in Brantford, will feature a historic display chronicling the evolution of its ice-resurfacing machine.
RBC will be bringing an outdoor hockey-themed inflatable setup for children.
Dalpe, who enters what will likely be his first full season of NHL hockey this September, said when he heard about the game he knew he wanted to take part.
“How can you pass it up?,” he said. “It’s not only the hockey, but some of the history of Brantford. I’m very excited.”
Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to take part in a skate with some of the players involved in the game – including Dalpe and Henrique – for an hour before the game starts on Aug. 15.
There will also be an autograph session after the game.
“I want to stress that the skate and autograph session will be for ticket holders,” McColeman said. “The way tickets are going, we expect this to be a sellout.”
More than half of the 1,200 tickets available have already been sold.
Tickets to Hockey Night in Brantford cost $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. More information is available online at www.hockeynightinbrantford.ca.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Brant United Way.