You can feel hockey in Charlottetown, says Stars' GM

Dave Stewart
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"You can feel hockey here.''

That's how Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk describes what it is about Charlottetown that stands out for him and the organization.

That is certainly high praise coming from a man who has won an Olympic gold medal, three Stanley Cups with three different teams and was elected this year to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Nieuwendyk and the Stars will return to Charlottetown for a portion of the team's training camp, Sept. 15-20. The team will practice at MacLauchlan Arena (free to the public) and play an intra-squad game at the Civic Centre on Sunday, Sept. 19.

The Stars surged in the first half of last season and Nieuwendyk attributes that to the effect being in Charlottetown had the team.

"I attribute a lot of our success last year, especially with the start that we had, to the team getting here and coming together as a team right off the get-go here in Charlottetown. The community embraced us. We had a great time. It was all positive and I anticipate this (next camp) will be as well.''

Nieuwendyk spoke to the media Friday after participating in the 50th annual Gold Cup Parade in Charlottetown.

Mayor Clifford Lee said when the city found out parade organizers were going with the ‘Parade of Stars' theme this year they decided to fire off an email to the Dallas organization to see if anyone wanted to participate. Dallas replied to the city the very next day.

"We never expected the next day to get a response that the general manager, Joe Nieuwendyk, would be pleased to come up and take part in the parade,'' Lee said. "That's just the type of organization these guys are.''

It's going to cost the city roughly $30,000 to host the Stars' camp but the spinoffs far outweigh the costs.

According to numbers from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance - using something they call the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model - the economic impact of the Stars visit last year was $500,000. That includes factors such as players who frequent restaurants in the city and tickets sold for the intra-squad game.

And, this year's camp is a day longer that last year.

Nieuwendyk said it's good to get away from the familiar confines of home for a few days.

"No. 1, it's important to get out of Texas and the heat that we're experiencing there now,'' the general manager said. "You come to a little community like this where it's . . . you can feel hockey. It's good for our guys. Everything is so close. Nothing is spread out and the facilities are terrific.

"It's a good community feel and I think we feel that with all of you guys and the way people go about their business here in town. I think our guys really appreciate that.''

The agreement between the Stars and the city is a year-by-year thing meaning there is no deal in place for next year.

Lee said the city will consider all options once the Stars leave town next month.

Word is the city is getting a lot of calls from people suggesting the city pursue a camp with Cornwall native Adam McQuaid and the Boston Bruins.

And, the city will also likely see whether Murray Harbour native Brad Richards and his new team, the New York Rangers, might be interested in coming up.

"What happens next is tough to say right now,'' Lee said. "After this training camp, we need to sit back and see how this event came off and see what, if any, interest might be out there with other clubs.''


Organizations: Dallas Stars, Hockey Hall of Fame, Civic Centre Dallas organization Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Boston Bruins New York Rangers

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Dallas, Texas Cornwall Murray Harbour

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Recent comments

  • Matthew S.
    August 23, 2011 - 11:03

    HOCKEY FAN must be a habs fan. They are usually the ones who think they are the only ones who know anything about hockey. Get a life. BAM

  • hockey guy
    August 20, 2011 - 13:21

    Redident Kane ... it's very obvious you don't know hockey ... perhaps you should view the Dallas line-up ... you'll quickly realize it's filled with stars, including 5 Olypians from different countries ... Captain Morrow won Gold in Vancouver with Team Canada. Get a life.

    • Resident Kane
      August 20, 2011 - 14:00

      I follow hockey like the need for water. I love how people jump to conclusions. You and Betty should get a room perhaps. I'll ask you again..who would yo like to go see? Every team have numerous Olympians (yes that is how it's really spelled) form many different countries and I hope to see you at the rink, because I WILL be there. You? What's with the "get a life" comments is beyond me. All the childish ones come out on the weekends I guess.

    • Resident Kane
      August 20, 2011 - 14:14

      Oh and thank-you for re-educating me in things I haven't forgotten. Got anymore facts you can pull out of google and wiki?

  • Marg
    August 20, 2011 - 08:42

    Mayor Lee, please do not sit back to see what might be the results of Dallas being here. You have the results from last year. How about actively seeking the participation of Boston and New York, this Fall, and extend the entertainment and tourism value. Be proactive rather than reactive!

  • money
    August 20, 2011 - 07:34

    Great for self-esteem... let's hope the Stars don't want to fish while they're here... No money for sewage but plenty for roundabouts, fake hills, and various and sundry millionaires

  • Betty Davis
    August 19, 2011 - 22:22

    Resident Kane, aren't you always wet with that big dark cloud of gloom hanging over your head and raining on you all the time? I bet you get a kick out of telling kids you don't think there is a Santa and that the Easter Bunny is a fake. Get a life.

    • Resident Kane
      August 20, 2011 - 11:24

      What's wrong Betty? Someone do a #1 in your cornflakes..I asked a simple question. What player would you go see? If anyone has a dark cloud it's you and I hope it clears up. Sorry if I typed wrong or you read it wrong but there is no need for assuming I'm some idiot who enjoys telling tings like that..In fact you're anger towards me might have just told kids since this IS PUBLIC. Get a life yourself because mine is great and I think before I type. The fact of the matter is I'm excited over this and I'm curious who people want to see the most. Have a nice day.

    • Resident Kane
      August 20, 2011 - 12:56

      Don't worry Betty I forgive you. Looking at the time you posted you were likely getting tired from playing farmville all night.

  • Agreed
    August 19, 2011 - 22:04

    Hockeyfan hit the nail on the head. To see any of these players is amazing. Charlottetown is a small place but somehow manages to get big attention. Nieuwendyk is a class act too. Great job to those involved bringing him and the rest of the team here!

  • Hockey Fan
    August 19, 2011 - 21:29

    As a hockey fan it doesn't matter what team happens to come to PEI for their training camp but just the fact that there is an NHL team that will be skating around the Civic Centre ice(even though its just for an intersquad game) is awesome! Surreal even. Just be thankful that an NHL team WANTS to come to Charlottetown, doesn't matter what star is on the team....

  • Resident Kane
    August 19, 2011 - 19:10

    aside from Nieuwendyk (the GM) who would you want to go see? Ryder?

    • Resident Kane
      August 20, 2011 - 11:32

      Before anyone calls me out in an unusual way again, just to clarify the above is not sarcasm. Ryder won the cup along side of Adam Mcquaid this year (from PEI). That is why I said his name. They also have quite a few prospects on the way up in the NHL and it will be a great opportunity for those who don't want to or can't travel a couple thousand KM to see NHL players do what the do best.