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Thousands help showcase Belleville’s hockey culture

By Lindsey Harren [1] and Evan McClelland [2]

BELLEVILLE – Thousands of hockey fans joined Rogers Hometown Hockey  this past weekend to celebrate the community’s hockey history.

This was stop 19 for Canada’s largest touring hockey festival.

“The community has been overwhelming supportive of us,” said Kevin Angel, touring director for Hometown Hockey. [3]

Fans were treated to give-aways, live music, including a concert from Canadian super group TransCanada Highwaymen, and some pick-up ball hockey games.

At times there was a sea of hockey jersey’s, mostly from the Belleville Senators and the former Belleville Bulls [4]. However, one fan didn’t just bring a jersey out to the event.

Mark Lunansky drove his Zamboni from Marmora to downtown Belleville ahead of the broadcast. The backroad journey took him over two hours.

“I just wanted to do it,” said Lunansky.


Marmora resident Mark Lunansky, made sure that he painted the Toronto Maple Leaf’s logo on the other side. Photo by Lindsey Harren

On Sunday, junior hockey players from around the community joined fans on television, behind hosts Tara Slone and Ron MacLean, as they highlighted the Subban family.

Former Belleville Bulls player, Kyle Wellwood, and Belleville native, Andrew Raycroft were there signing autographs and sharing their story with host Tara Slone.


Belleville native Andrew Raycroft was signing hockey jerseys for fans all weekend. Photo by Lindsey Harren

Jill Raycroft, CEO of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce said that this was an opportunity for people to re-discover what the downtown has to offer.

Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith, was there with Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher to receive a hockey jersey to commemorate the event.

Smith said the event was fantastic, and thinks there will be an economic impact

“Not just today, but maybe down the road as well. Because we are putting Belleville on that national showcase,” he said.

Brampton is the next stop for Hometown Hockey on March 10 to 11.