Milestones. Every community has them.
Incorporation. Elections won and lost. Major fires and floods. Grand openings. Sad closures. New hospitals. Wonderful parades and festivals.
Truro’s 138-year history includes all of the above and this weekend marks the realization of another – the first major events to take place in the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC).
And to suggest interest for Saturday’s Maritime Junior Hockey League contest between the hometown Bearcats and Metro Shipbuilders is immense would be a mammoth understatement as all 2,500 available tickets have already been spoken for and the waiting list is growing.
Of course, free tickets helped the cause but that still didn’t guarantee such a tremendous response.
Give Bearcats owner Stu Rath kudos here. He passed up the team’s biggest gate of the season and teamed up with a local service club (Rotary Club of Truro) to raise money for charity.
Sure, it was designed, in part, to entice a somewhat jaded marketplace to give junior hockey another try. But it is still brilliant marketing by a business wizard.
No doubt much of the excitement surrounding Saturday’s event has less to do with the game and more to do with checking out the new building.
A prediction. Few, if any, will be disappointed. The RECC is a treasure and its signature subsection – the Community Credit Union Arena – promises to be a great place to watch hockey, concerts, whatever.
We will watch with interest, however, the number of fans who return for the next big event – a Sunday evening (7 p.m.) showdown between the Bearcats and the Yarmouth Mariners – when tickets aren’t free.
And how many will show up when the playoffs open the second week of March or when the Fred Page Cup is held in early May?
Those numbers will go a long way towards determining whether Truro (and central Colchester) still rates as one of Nova Scotia’s premiere sports towns.
Time will tell. Meanwhile, a community milestone is just around the corner and the interest is building. Just one piece of advice. Carpool, because parking for anything close to a capacity crowd is severely limited.