Five of the best Junior A teams in the country will converge on Prince George, BC next week for the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, and the host committee has made sure that visitors to B.C.’s Northern Capital will have a week they will never forget.
The event officially kicks off on Friday, May 4 with the RBC Fire on Ice Opening Extravaganza, a free community celebration taking placing at the CN Centre, featuring the Firebelly Aerial Acrobatic Performers. During the Opening Extravaganza, admission will also be free to FanFest at Kin One. The evening will be concluded by a fireworks presentation taking place at the Exhibition Grounds.
FanFest will be an interactive event that will run throughout the week, featuring a Legends of Hockey display, as well as four NHL trophies. Fans can also enjoy interactive games that will test their hockey skills and knowledge. By showing their game ticket at the door, fans will be granted admission to FanFest, and the interactive games will be available for those who purchase a wrist band for $5, giving them unlimited play for one day.
Also running through the week will be the Crease Cabaret, a great place for fans 19 and older to relax between games, or between periods. Located in the Atrium next to the CN Centre, the Crease Cabaret will be open from noon until 1 a.m. on days when there are afternoon games, and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on all other nights.
On Saturday afternoon, May 5, before the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup kicks off with the game between the host Prince George Spruce Kings and East Region champion Pembroke Lumber Kings, the RBC Financial Group will host the annual RBC Tailgate Party. Fans are invited to the front entrance of the CN Centre at 5 p.m. for a barbecue and some live entertainment before that night’s 7 p.m. game.
On the afternoon of Friday, May 11, the tournament’s off-day, corporate partners and officials from both Hockey Canada and the Canada’s Junior A hockey leagues will take part in the Friends of the Cup golf tournament at Aberdeen Glen, one of Prince George’s most challenging courses. The tournament will kick off with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. Unfortunately, spots in the event are sold out.
Later that night, the Prince George Civic Centre will play host to the RBC National Awards Gala. The tournament awards, along with RBC Financial Group scholarships and the RBC Financial Group Canadian Junior A Player of the Year, will all be handed out at the gala. Ryan Walter, a 15-year NHL veteran, will be the guest speaker, and will be joined by a number of VIPs, including National Sledge Hockey Team players Paul Rosen, Jean Labonté and Billy Bridges.
Rosen will be the most active of the sledge players, taking part in a number of events. The Paralympic gold medal-winning goaltender will be the Master of Ceremonies for Friday’s RBC Fire on Ice Opening Extravaganza, will speak to a number of schools in the Prince George area, and will be signing autographs at FanFest throughout the week. He will also be in attendance at the Friends of the Cup golf tournament at Aberdeen Glen on Friday afternoon.
Labonté and Bridges will join Rosen in taking part in the final weekend of the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, beginning with the Awards Gala on Friday night. The three will then be on the ice at the CN Centre during intermissions of Saturday’s semi-final games, performing with selected local minor hockey players. Before Sunday’s championship game, which begins at 4:30 p.m., the three will join the local community on the ice at CN Centre for a public skate, before Rosen and Bridges drop the ceremonial first puck ahead of the championship game.
The hockey is sure to be fantastic at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, but the host committee has made sure that when there is no hockey on the ice, both residents of Prince George and visitors to the city will have no shortage of things to do.