MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) It's been two and a half months since Marquette won Kraft Hockeyville USA, and now there are only two and a half months until the big NHL game. With the game at Lakeview Arena right around the corner on October 4th, the NHL and Lakeview have started talking about not only the logistics of the game, but also festivities surrounding the event.
"So at this point now we have met with some folks from the NHL and Kraft Hockeyville, and we're starting to get some of those plans moving," said Andrew MacIver, Parks and Recreation Coordinator. "We're looking at the arena and seeing what exactly needs to be done for the game, and making sure we meet some of the standards for play that need to be met."
Organizers are also working on several tentative ideas for the weekend beforehand.
"We're going to start to have events on Saturday October first," said Doug Garrow, Chairman for the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for Kraft Hockeyville. "Our plan is tentatively, we're going to have a running race in the morning, like a 5K, and then Saturday night we're going to have a gala where it's going to be more like a fundraiser for friends of Lakeview."
Garrow said the gala fundraiser would be to raise more money for the arena. Though the $150,000 is a huge amount they are grateful to be awarded, it doesn't go a very long way when fixing up a facility the size of Lakeview Arena. Other communities who have won Kraft Hockeyville USA and decided to do similar fundraisers, have been able to upgrade their facilities tremendously beyond the awarded money.
Also in the works for the weekend beforehand, is a fun fair at the NMU Dome, as well as youth hockey clinics at Lakeview on the actual ice that the professionals will play on. A pregame skate is also on the list of tentative plans.
"If you don't get a ticket for the game, the same amount of tickets are going to be available for the pregame skate," said Garrow. "The nice thing about the pregame skate is, there's going to be a red carpet event for it where the players get dropped off a ways away from the rink and then they walk down the red carpet and they'll be signing autographs."
As for information on tickets for the big game, that's something organizers say even they don't have details about yet.
"I know everyone is interested to find out how you get tickets, so as soon as we find that out we'll make sure we get that information out so everyone knows exactly what's going on," said Garrow.
Something to keep in mind though, other communities that have put on NHL preseason games for Kraft Hockeyville have used a lottery system for tickets.
Overall though, organizers are excited for the event which marks the first professional hockey game in Marquette since 1942. However, the legacy it will have on Lakeview Arena as well as Marquette Junior Hockey may be the bigger success.
"This is something to look back on, not just as 'Hockeyville that happened in October when the NHL came,' this is going to be kind of a legacy thing that we'll look at in the future too, in sustaining hockey in this facility," said MacIver.