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EDITORIAL: Hockeyville was the highlight of the week, if not the year

Ottawa Senators players salute P.E.I. fans at the conclusion of the Kraft Hockeyville 2017 NHL exhibition game Monday in Summerside. Dean Getson from the O’Leary Hockeyville committee, suggests it is difficult to place a dollar value on many of the benefits that comes from O’Leary’s Hockeyville win.
Ottawa Senators players salute P.E.I. fans at the conclusion of the Kraft Hockeyville 2017 NHL exhibition game Monday in Summerside. Dean Getson from the O’Leary Hockeyville committee, suggests it is difficult to place a dollar value on many of the benefits that comes from O’Leary’s Hockeyville win.

As hockey games go, Monday’s pre-season NHL exhibition contest between the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators was one-sided.

The Devils out-worked, out-played and outscored the Senators 8-1.

In this case, though, it was the game’s location and not the score that mattered.

Take a bow, O’Leary Hockeyville Committee. You’ve provided many Prince Edward Islanders with a highlight reel of wonderful memories.

From the hundreds of school kids who took in the morning practices, posed questions to players and scored many autographs, to the 3,000-plus spectators who filled the Credit Union Place for the NHL game, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

There was no grumbling about the lopsided score. 
There were smiles. Everywhere.  Fans, young and old, were genuinely happy to have the opportunity to take in an National Hockey League game in Prince Edward Island. For many, it was their first time seeing live NHL action.

Like a freight train going downhill, the excitement and anticipation for the game had been steadily gathering momentum since February.

Many of those fans helped make it happen by jumping onboard the O’Leary Hockeyville Helpers Facebook page last winter and encouraging friends near and far to vote for O’Leary’s Kraft Hockeyville entry.

There were more than 21,000 members on the Hockeyville Helpers page and, obviously, only a small percentage of them were able to fit into Credit Union Place for the practices or the game.

There might have been a bit of grumbling about the rules for registering for and obtaining tickets to the game, but there’s no denying that the committee put a lot of thought into making the process fair.

Any of those who won tickets, and many who didn’t, also had the opportunity to take in Winning Weekend celebrations in O’Leary on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Kraft Hockeyville truly was a winning weekend for O’Leary and for all of Prince Edward Island, and largely because an army of volunteers made it so.

Anyone who checked the O’Leary Hockeyville Helpers Facebook page, or even their own pages this week would have come across numerous group shots and selfies of delighted fans.

This has been a feel-good story, all because a few people got the train going and a whole bunch of people kept it rolling.

There are wins and losses in games and in life, but in O’Hockeyville, despite the outcome of the game itself, there really were no losers.

This whole Hockeyville experience gets the “W”, the three stars, the Stanley Cup, the Hockeyville Cup and the thumbs up.

“Poof,” it’s fall

And, just like that (cue snapping fingers) September is coming to a close.

Warm temperatures at the beginning of the week have given way to more seasonal numbers.

Just what we need to get us thinking about pickling, firewood and, generally, stocking up for the cooler months ahead.

On the heels of a warm, dry summer, we can be forgiven if we’ve fallen a bit behind on those preparations.

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