Fan Fest Opens to Avid Supporters Braving the winter storm and snowy streets, 50 fans waited to be the first to enter the RBC World Junior Fan Fest in Halifax today. Gathering outside, even the youngest fans--at five years old!--are spouting Team Canada facts and promising that Canada is gold-medal bound.
Colin Robertson made the drive down from Antigonish, Nova Scotia early this morning. Robertson said the driving may have been bad, but the rewards more than worth the trouble.
"We love our hockey," he said. "Team Canada was practicing in one our local rinks and we were one of the 600-700 people there, so it’s no surprise that we are here waiting first in line."
RBC World Junior Fan Fest runs for 10 days and it hopes to attract more than 50,000 people. The event occupies most of the World Trade and Convention Centre facility and will feature some 50,000 square feet of hands-on hockey fun and information.
Stephen Coutts is a volunteer at Fan Fest. He said that Fan Fest is every hockey fan’s dream. "They say that if a hockey fan died and went to heaven, then this is where he would end up."
Fan Fest is exactly what Brian Kent was looking for. He is in town for the holidays and admitted that he might never have the chance to experience this much hockey history in his hometown of Edmonton.
"I have been watching hockey ever since I first saw it on TV--you might say it was love at first sight," Kent beamed. "But this is different from anything else I have ever seen. It brings it all to life."
Kent is just one of many fans stopping to take pictures of the memorabilia. From the sweater worn by gold medalist, Cassie Campbell at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City to the evidence that proves Windsor, Nova Scotia is the birthplace of hockey, the displays offer something for everyone.
And for fans who want to take hockey home with them, there will be a major 'silent auction' during Fan Fest with daily and weekly items up for bid. One of the big items is the autographed game sweaters of this year's Team Canada players and, as one shy fan admitted, she is waiting for a Wayne Gretzky set to go up for bid.
Other main attractions of the event include the four, skill-testing interactive games--Rapid Fire, Hardest Shot, Accuracy and Shut Out. All are designed to challenge players' skill levels. Hockey personalities, past and present, will be on hand during the event to sign autographs and give interviews at the festival’s Celebrity Corner.
Megan Concarn is volunteering at the festival. She said working at Fan Fest was an exciting way to spend her Christmas vacation, and she looks forward to meeting the ultimate hockey fan.
"Its hard to say which fan will be the ultimate. Some just watch hockey regulary; others wear all the gear."
In a crowd of multi-coloured hockey sweaters, it’s hard to say which person might be the ultimate fan, but from age 5 to 95, they are all wearing big smiles.
Fest organizer, Dave Bryson was happy to see so many people out having a good time as soon as the doors opened. As he stops to fix a tabletop hockey game, a father and son are having their own World Championship game, Canada vs. Canada. Bryson laughed and hoped that hockey fans young and old would come out to see what the Fest had to offer.
"We wanted to bring this World Hockey Junior event beyond the walls of the arena and this RBC Fan Fest will allow us to do that," said Bryson. "This event will give the average person an opportunity to celebrate this great Canadian game of hockey."
The RBC World Junior Fan Fest runs December 26 to January 5, from 12 noon to 11pm.
Tickets are available at Halifax Metro Centre Box Office, participating Sobeys outlets or charge by phone (902) 451-1221.
U5 Free with paid adult.
Event Passes are also available.