Hockey games were not the only exciting events that people in Charlottetown got to experience at the Royal Bank Cup National Junior “A” Championship.
To start off the tournament, Royal Bank, the title sponsor of the tournament, held a barbeque before the tournament began for anyone who wished to attend. The barbeque attracted 2,500 people.
“The barbeque is another way for the staff to stay thank you to the local community who are so important
to hosting an event like this,” said Shawn Redmond from the Royal Bank.
After everyone filled their bellies with hamburgers, hotdogs and pop, they headed into the Civic Centre to watch the host team Charlottetown Abbies vs. the Lennoxville Cougars.
But the hockey game wasn’t the only thing going on.
Before, during, or after the game any fan who might have wanted a hockey history lesson could go into the 2003 Royal Bank Cup Memorabilia room.
In the room there were jerseys from all the Islanders who play in the NHL, items from the Canadian Junior team, Charlottetown Abbies memorabilia and much more.
The items were mostly donated from people in Charlottetown who had them in there own collection.
Don Murnaghan, volunteer for the Royal Bank Cup said the attendance to the room throughout the week was extremely high.
“The response (to the room) has been overwhelming. We had a guest book and it was completely filled and I
would say for everyone who signed it there was probably about another eight or nine didn’t sign it but they
came in through the room,” said Murnaghan.
There was one piece of memorabilia, which was the most popular and had people requesting to see it over and over again.
“We would have to say Forbes Kennedy’s fight when he was with the Leafs. We show it in here and there has been about a hundred people in here during the intermissions just to watch that tape,” Murnaghan.
Another event, which fans could experience was the Potato Patch. The Potato Patch was in the Convention Centre at the Civic Centre and was a place for fans to go and socialize during and after the game.
“It was a good atmosphere, really jubilant, people were just here for the hockey and to have a good time,” said Mark McGloin a bartender at the Potato Patch.
However less people took in the festivities then he expected said McGloin.
The headline bands for the tournament, Haywire and Spare Parts played on May 10.
The players not only played in the tournament but some were rewarded for their play in the tournament. The tournament awards were given out on May 9.
Craig Olynick, from the Hunboldt Broncos received the Most Valuable Player Award and the Top Defencemen while his teammate Josh Podaima won the Top Scorer Award.
The Camrose Kodiaks also had two players picking up awards with Mike Borodeur accepting the Top Goaltender Award and Travis Friedley receiving the Most Sportsmanlike Player Award.
The Lennoxville Cougars Carl Gagnon won the Top Forward Award.
The RBC Financial Group Junior “A” Scholarship National Winner was Donald Johnstone from the Truro Bearcats.
The RBC Financial Group Canadian Junior “A” Player-of-the-Year Award was given to Mark Bombersback of the Canmore Eagles.
For the friends and families of the teams the Royal Bank put on a evening called the Charlottetown Experience.
“The Charlottetown Experience is an event put on by the local staff of RBC Financial group, which started off as a thank you to the parents of the players for being so supportive of their sons and hockey in general. And it provides an opportunity for the local RBC staff to provide some local hospitality,” said Redmond.
They had music and food for visitors.
One of those visitors was Myles Podaima, the father of Humboldt Broncos Josh Podaima attend the event.
“It was a big surprise. We thought we were just going to a building to go and meet a bunch of people and mingle and we were so surprised that when we walked in we were greeted with the Anne of Green Gables hats. And then when we walked in we say we were being treated to a Culinary experience and then after that the band started playing and we had a blast, it was great. We never expected it and it really gave us a feeling of what Maritimers are like,” said Podaima.
In fact on of the RBC Financial employees gave Podaima a RBC jersey to take home and put in his sons room.