West Lorne Celebrates NHL Game Win with Free Tickets for Residents

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In anticipation, Butch Purdue was eagerly awaiting the opportune moment to introduce his son, Jimmy, to the thrilling atmosphere of live, professional hockey. The Followers of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the father-son duo from West Lorne was thrilled to unlatch their golden opportunity on Sunday afternoon – free tickets to an exhibition match between the Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

“We’re usually boxed out by the high ticket prices,” Butch shared, now grateful for the chance to share this excitement with his son. The exhibition game was a fruit of West Lorne’s victory at the Kraft Hockeyville (KH) contest earlier in the spring season.

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Their win had ushered in an exhilarating wave of anticipation among West Lorne’s minor hockey enthusiasts, West Elgin Skating Club members, and passionate community members who had all been qualified for the free tickets. The game was to take place at the Joe Thornton Community Centre, as the West Lorne Arena was unfit to host an NHL game in regard to capacity and safety regulations.

An excited Jimmy, eager to see Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews live, affirmed, “This will be my first NHL game.”

A drive through West Lorne reflected the Hockeyville logo and the town’s enthusiasm. Houses were broadcast in blue and red, black, and yellow according to Jessica Small, an active member of the West Lorne Kraft Hockeyville Committee. “Our people are really getting amped up for this week.”

The excitement extended to lifelong Leafs fans, Peter and his son Daniel Barnes, who were delighted to claim their free tickets. With a community celebration planned for the day before the exhibition, the town was buzzing with anticipation.

“Our town is set to host the Stanley Cup, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” expressed Small. “We’ll have our alumni from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, like Darcy Tucker and ‘Sugar’ Rob Ray, while also hosting a free skate, food trucks, and games.”

The aftermath of their KH victory had left a permanent legacy in the local rink. Along with immediate funds for arena upgrades, the committee was raising additional funds by selling merchandise. Permanent reminders of this victory, such as the Hockeyville logo on the rink and a display of legacy pieces, were set up by the committee.

“As you drive by, you’ll see and feel the excitement. We’re all looking forward to the arenas’ forthcoming renovations. Every time you visit, you’ll know; West Lorne has won Kraft Hockeyville 2023, and we’re incredibly excited to see what the future holds.”

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