Victoria Park is back to the way it was.
No vans and trucks parked in it. No pop up tents and shops. No mini rinks. No giant stage.
But the memories of those places remain embedded in the minds of all who took part in Hometown Hockey this past weekend.
Thousands of people crowded in to see the festivities that took place Sunday and meet some former WHL and NHL stars, like Scott Niedermayer.
The former New Jersey Devils & Anaheim Ducks defenceman lives in California, but said it was just nice to come home and see people truly loving the game of hockey.
“It was exactly what I expected,” he said. “Get back to Canada, see the snow, see the cold, see people loving hockey. It’s been exactly as expected and exactly what I wanted to be part of.”
The host of Hometown Hockey and Coach’s Corner, Ron McLean, also spoke to that. He said being back in Saskatchewan felt very good, as the people and towns across it were instrumental in developing his passion for broadcasting, hockey and sport on the whole.
“My boyhood mentor hero was a guy named Bruce Bowie at 630 CHED in Edmonton from Piapot, Saskatchewan,” noted McLean. “All these little mythical towns in Saskatchewan have always represented a barn raising, or Co-op or Medicare or some great idea.”
McLean also reflected on the game of hockey and Saskatchewan’s connection to it.
While hockey has greatly impacted life in Saskatchewan, he says the impact has Saskatchewan has had on hockey and Canada is so much more greater.
“I just think that unconditional love you have in a place in Saskatchewan is such a great beacon. I really feel they’ve shown us the way on ethical issues. I think they’ve shown us the way on appreciating each other and what it takes to form a team and community.”
“It’s such a special place, it always will be.”