“There’s a potential for $1 million in economic activity in the community,” said Truro Mayor Bill Mills. “We’ve been rebranding Truro and area for the better part of four to five years and it’s paying off.”
During the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour, Canadian sportscaster Ron MacLean and TV personality Tara Slone will visit 24 communities across the country, starting with Niagara Falls on Oct. 7 and 8 and ending up in Montreal on the last weekend of March.
Truro is the tour’s only stop in Nova Scotia – and it has Mills and other community and business leaders stoked.
The Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will be pulling into the community on Oct. 28 and will be there for two days of free hockey festivities, including live entertainment, local celebs, NHL alumni and other activities.
Live from their Sportsnet mobile studio, MacLean and Slone will host a pre-game, intermission and post-game show highlighting local culture, stories unique to Truro and, of course, hockey history.
Mayor Mills is calling it a full-meal deal.
“It’s a great way to showcase everything about hockey in Truro, including our involvement with the junior A Bearcats,” said the mayor. “We’ll be talking about Truro and what it has to offer in terms of business and not just hockey."
That’s music to the ears of Alex Stevenson, president of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce.
"We value the economic impact this type of event brings to our region and we're excited to welcome Ron, Tara and the Sportsnet team to our community," said Stevenson.
At the Bike Monkey on the Esplanade in downtown Truro, owner Jeff Simms operates as “the Ice Monkey” during the winter months, sharpening 60 to 80 pairs of skates daily, selling hockey sticks and servicing equipment. He’s hoping the tour will boost business.
“I would like to think it will increase interest and sales and help tourism,” he said. “Definitely, the buzz will help local tourism.”
Sports store managers in Truro were still trying to figure out how to best capitalize on their good fortune Tuesday.
At the Truro Mall Sport Chek, manager on duty Allie Thompson said even local hockey tournaments are enough to bring in a bit more business as players come in to sharpen skates. Although the pricing and sales at the national sports retailer are mostly handled by head office, the local managers can have their own manager’s specials.
This isn’t the Truro area’s first time out of the gate with a major hockey event.
In late September 2006, Colchester Legion Stadium hosted an NHL exhibition game as a reward for Salmon River’s Deuville Rink winning the Kraft Hockeyville competition. In that contest, the Montreal Canadiens soundly trounced the Ottawa Senators 7-3.
“That was just electric and I’d say the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will be much the same way,” said the mayor.
The tour organizers approached the town earlier this year and Mayor Mills was quick to recognize that this was a chance to get Truro a lot of positive attention. He jumped at it.
“Any opportunity for us to promote Truro is an opportunity we’re going to take,” he said. “We’re getting more event conscious and it’s paying dividends.”