Hockeyville warms up home ice

Brendan McCarthy
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Ottawa Senators’ left-winger and St. John’s native Colin Greening, 14, waits for a rebound from an incoming shot on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec during third-period action of the NHL exhibition game at Mile One Centre Monday night. The game was the grand prize for the Town of Conception Bay South which won this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition. Other players are (from left) the Jets’ Jim Slater, 19, and Johnny Oduya, (third from left) and Senators’ right winger Chris Neil, (rear centre). The Jets won the game 3-1. For more photos see www.thetelegram.com. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The Winnipeg Jets may be the parent team of the St. John’s IceCaps, but Monday night for 6,000-plus Newfoundlanders, they played more of the part of the cousin the family had never met before. The connection was obvious. It just took them a little while to warm up.

The Jets iced a very strong NHL exhibition lineup as they downed the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in the 2011 Kraft Hockeyville game, officially hosted by the community of Conception Bay South (C.B.S.), but played at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

There have been NHL pre-season games before at Mile One, but in those cases, there was a pre-established attraction to one or both of the contestants who were of the Original Six club — the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.

But Monday, none of that existed and the packed house (the vast majority being residents of C.B.S.), were left to choose between the Senators, who offered a local connection in the form of sophomore forward and St. John’s native Colin Greening, and the Jets, just re-established to the NHL, but owners of the IceCaps American Hockey League franchise.

In-the-stand garb gave little indication of the crowd's leanings.

There were some Senators jerseys and very little, if anything, in the way of Jets merchandise, which is just hitting the market. In fact, the overall fashion was a potpourri consisting of sweaters of just about every description.

Maybe it was because of the way they played, maybe it was because Winnipeg dressed so many certain NHLers like Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Tobias Enstrom, Blake Wheeler and goalie Ondrej Pavelec; maybe it was because of a growing sense of a hockey kinship.

By the time it was all over, the Jets received the warmer embrace.

Nice building and a real good crowd and it made for pretty good game. I think we all appreciated being here," said Winnipeg defenceman Mark Flood, who may be ticketed for the IceCaps, but remains in the mix for a job with the Jets.

Eighteen year-old Mark Scheifele, the 2011 first-round draft pick who has been a pleasant surprise in training camp, tryout forward Troy Bodie and Ben Maxwell had the goals for Winnipeg. Mika Zibanejab, the Senators' first-round draft choice in June, had the only goal for Ottawa, which was officially listed as the home team.

Pavelec made 27 saves, 17 of them in the third period, perhaps reminding folks in these parts of how he led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to playoff wins over the St. John's Fog Devils a few years back.

"I always liked playing here. I always liked this rink," said Pavelec. "I have some good memories of St. John's. I never thought I would be back here, but now I have another one."

There were a few dustups: Bodie taking on Senators veteran Chris Neil after the latter mistreated Jets' forward Patrice Cormier; Cormier doing the same after teammate Ben Maxwell was levelled by a clean hit by big Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba; and a squabble at the final buzzer, with Neil again at the centre of the melee.

The crowd gave a healthy round of applause at the finish, but the biggest ovation had come at the start of the night, given out for a young hockey player who won't see any ice time this season. That was 13-year-old Cody Porter of C.B.S., who dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff. Cody collapsed during a tryout at a provincial bantam camp in Gander last month, and the teenager's vital signs actually flatlined twice, the second time while being airlifted to the Janeway Hospital in St. John's. There, it was discovered he had a growth on his heart, a condition which led to his having to cancel plans for hockey this year.

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telybrendan

Organizations: Winnipeg Jets, IceCaps, NHL Ottawa Senators Kraft Hockeyville Montreal Canadiens Toronto Maple Leafs Boston Bruins Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Janeway Hospital

Geographic location: Winnipeg, St. John's, Ottawa Gander

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Recent comments

  • Great job CBS Hockeyville Committee
    September 27, 2011 - 21:16

    Great job last night. Very nice family event. Thanks to the CBS Hockeyville Committee for all your long and hard work over the past many months.

  • Trouty
    September 27, 2011 - 14:13

    Since Mile One never organized nore sold any tickets,maybe CBS should of hired concession while they were at it,they hoged every ticket they could,and frankly shut out real hockey fans and Ice caps supporters.Im sure when AHL comes in Mile One will have staff and ushers.Oh and Bi their were 3 fights hardly much,Fighting is as part of the game as scoring maybe you rather stick work and cheap shots.Final point you had a 900 seat arena and felt the need to take 6200 seats,in all honesty without St.John's helping you vote you lose kraftville.Go Icecaps Go

  • George
    September 27, 2011 - 12:03

    To Bl who - suggested to eat before the game: Some of us work! I finish work at 5 o'clock, and have to get to a 5:30 game with 2 children. When do you suggest I eat, find a place to park (no parking problem downtown according to Andy Wells when the arena was first built) and be seated for the start of the game - all in 30 minutes? Fries for my 7-year old at a professional hockey game is part of the experience. I apologize if I walked in front of you during the game. If that's the worst thing ever happens in your life, then you don't have much to complain about - although I'm quite sure you would keep looking until you found something. That being said, I did miss the entire first period and just made it to my seat for the start of the second - waiting in the lineup for fries - but I consider it more important that my child enjoy the experience than I - or you having your view temporarily blocked as I pass in front of you.. I've been to hockey games in other arenas including 18,000+ at a game in Tampa, and the lineups are nowhere as long (timewise) as at Mile One last night. So these other posters do have a legitimate gripe. On another note, I have to say, I am NOT a Senators fan, but thumbs up to the players for taking an extra few moments at the end of the game to mingle with the fans and sign autographs and so on. Particularly Daniel Alfredsson, who actually seemed to enjoy giving the kids their moment with a star hockey player.

  • George
    September 27, 2011 - 11:43

    To Bl who - suggested to eat before the game: Some of us work! I finish work at 5 o'clock, and have to get to a 5:30 game with 2 children. When do you suggest I eat, find a place to park (no parking problem downtown according to Andy Wells when the arena was first built) and be seated for the start of the game - all in 30 minutes? Fries for my 7-year old at a professional hockey game is part of the experience. I apologize if I walked in front of you during the game. If that's the worst thing ever happens in your life, then you don't have much to complain about - although I'm quite sure you would keep looking until you found something. That being said, I did miss the entire first period and just made it to my seat for the start of the second - waiting in the lineup for fries - but I consider it more important that my child enjoy the experience than I - or you having your view temporarily blocked as I pass in front of you.. I've been to hockey games in other arenas including 18,000+ at a game in Tampa, and the lineups are nowhere as long (timewise) as at Mile One last night. So these other posters do have a legitimate gripe. On another note, I have to say, I am NOT a Senators fan, but thumbs up to the players for taking an extra few moments at the end of the game to mingle with the fans and sign autographs and so on. Particularly Daniel Alfredsson, who actually seemed to enjoy giving the kids their moment with a star hockey player.

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    September 27, 2011 - 09:17

    They should have made a draw to pick someone to drop the puck. Lots of kids would have loved to do that and fair is fair.

    • Jason
      September 27, 2011 - 12:23

      Donny you're all heart!!! Cody is good kid and given the situation it was more than fitting he was selected to drop the puck. You should be ashamed for posting that!

    • CBS Resident
      September 27, 2011 - 20:27

      I have read over and over again this same comment on different sites. You have no idea for proud and honored Cody was to be dropping this puck, when a 13 year old has to make a life changing decision for himself and has to give up the game he loves so much is a very mature decision, not to mention having to deal with the thoughts of knowing you bascially died twice in one day when you are so healthy and physically fit. I only hope you or anyone belonging to you has never got to face the events that his family struggled with for those 11 days! I am a family friend and everyone in CBS felt he was most deserving this kid is one of the most friendliest and kind hearted kids you would ever meet. I would think an adult would be more mature than a 13 year old but as I see in this case you are clearly not. He represented CBR Minor Hockey well because it was CBS who won Hockeyville! I think someone is jealous, the community spirit that has been shown in Newfoundland this past year is amazing and you only wish you could fit into something as inspiring as all CBS has. Grow up and stop picking on a little boy who is lucky to be alive today!

  • Newfie
    September 27, 2011 - 08:51

    No matter where you go in Newfoundland it seems that nothing is put together very well and they could use some courses on how to put something together like a concert, hockey game,etc. If it wasn't for us people going their and buying their food and drinks and beverages(alcohol); they would have nothing. I think that it is time that the organizers for these events think everything through after all why would you want to pay for tickets for something when you miss more by standing in a line-up waiting for food or drinks.

  • BI
    September 27, 2011 - 08:43

    As I said before, eat before you go to the game and then you won't be bothering the people who came to see the game rather than to eat and drink, crawling in and out over people. Actually, I think the game last night should have been an example to children wanted to play hockey - too much fighting - what are you teaching our children??

  • not impressed
    September 27, 2011 - 07:54

    The hockey game wasw wonderful congrats to both teams ! the problem was whoever organized the event. yes I understand that the game was free however the problem arises on how they gave out the tickets. Now if each person won two tickets you would think they would have the people sitting together. I was in row 16 my 8 year old son was in row 3 yes teh same section but pretty far apart. I was not the only one with this problem. and when you spoke to staff at mile one they said they could do nothing as they did not organize the event which again was understandable. You would think whoever organized the tickets would put 2 seats together. By the time the game was over i managed to get down to row 8 by switching with other people who were also given seperate seat tickets and were sitting no where near who they came with. so I give a big huge congrats to Both the hockey teams and a complete fail to the organizers of the tickets.

  • Mile One
    September 27, 2011 - 07:10

    Mile One certainly fell down on the job with the game last night. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that all concession stands should be open for a sold-out game, with a supper hour start time and the majority of the fans being kids. I think a 1.5 hr. wait to get a plate of fries is a little ridiculous. Myself and my six year old missed half the game last night trying to get something to eat, which put a damper on an otherwise great event. I hope this is not a sign of things to come when the Ice Caps start the season...