Michael Ryder — File Photo
Lloyd Stagg says if the phone calls he’s received over the last number of weeks are any indication, it’s not only the people of Bonavista region who are bristling with excitement over the Michael Ryder Stanley Cup celebrations scheduled for Tuesday.
“I’m at a steady rip here on the phones with people calling and wondering what’s going on, wondering when a good time to get here is,” explains the Cabot Stadium manager and one of four individuals on the organizing committee tasked with planning the day’s events.
“According to the phone calls, people all over Newfoundland are excited.”
Stagg says with organizers expecting over 20,000 people to descend on the peninsula between now and Tuesday, he’s been telling people to arrive early.
“Get into Bonavista on Saturday or Sunday, that way you won’t have to worry about the traffic on the road Tuesday morning.
“If you’re coming here that morning, get up bright and early and get on the road so you can get here early.”
To avoid too much congestion on local roads, the committee has arranged for nine buses to operate through the community on Tuesday to shuttle people around free of charge. The buses will also be available to transport people to and from the various campgrounds.
“We’re advising that once people park in Bonavista, stay parked and use the buses. And we’re advising the people of Bonavista to keep their cars parked and do the same,” Stagg says.
Paradise Farms Trailer Park is quickly filling up and Stagg says hotels in the Bonavista area have been, “booked solid since the minute it was announced.
“Almost everything is booked in Clarenville and there’s a lot being booked in the Port Blanford area, too.”
Festivities get underway around noon on Tuesday and will last for seven hours.
“Michael hasn’t got the Cup for as long as what Danny Cleary had it (when the Detroit Red Wings won the Cup in 2008). He’s only got it for 14 hours, and we got seven of that so I think we should consider ourselves lucky.”
Ryder and the Cup will arrive at the local RCMP detachment via helicopter from St. John’s.
“Then we’ve got a parade at 12:30 starting from the RCMP building around the streets of Bonavista and returning to Cabot Stadium.”
Inside the rink where Ryder got his start, kids and a guardian, along with coaches and committee members of the Bonavista Trinity Minor Hockey Association and the Bonavista Figure Skating Association will be afforded an hour to view the Cup with Ryder.
The festivities move to the nearby softball pitch for guest speakers such as Kathy Dunderdale, mayor Betty Fitzgerald and others between 2:30 and 3 p.m.
From 3 p.m. to 3:30, corporate sponsors Eastlink and North Atlantic will have 15 minutes each with the Cup.
The remaining four hours are dedicated exclusively to public viewing.
At the suggestion of Ryder’s father, Wayne, organizers are allowing two lines of people to assure everyone gets a chance to get up close and personal with the Cup in a quick and efficient manner.
“I can only imagine how many people will be in the lineups, but we’ve got to proceed as quick as possible. As fast as they can walk through and get a snap and get out, the faster we’ll get somebody else in.”