Tuesday, 23 March 2021

NHL In Saint Adolphe

If there's one story that's told over and over in this country, it's how players from small towns achieve their NHL dreams. Whether it's Parry Sound, Ontario or Floral, Saskatchewan or any other town across this country, we hear how the local kids from those towns beat the odds and skate in the show. With hockey changing its way into more of a business than hours spent on a retaining pond, these small towns sometimes get forgotten when it comes to providing fodder for those dreams. Today, it's time to rally the local province to help one of those towns gain a little notoriety!

If you missed the news, Saint Adolphe, Manitoba was named as one of the four finalists for the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville experience along with Bobcaygeon in Ontario, Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, and Lumsden in Saskatchewan. While these three latter communities are pretty great in their own rights, let's cut to the chase here by saying that Saint Adolphe is the best of the four communities named as finalists. Let's take a poor, uninspired look at each of the finalists not named Saint Adolphe before highlighting the local community!


Best known thanks to The Tragically Hip song, Bobcaygeon has a lock and canal that led to settlement being founded around that lock and the post office that soon followed. It was incorporated as a village by a Victoria County by-law of 1876, and has a current population of around 3500 people. The town name seems to be derived from an Ojibway word, but there's a rumour it could be a French word. Former NHL player Allan Stanley called Bobcaygeon home, and current KHL player Brady Austin is also from the town. Beyond that, though, there isn't a lot about which one can humble-brag "in Bobcaygeon where I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star as a time."

Elsipogtog First Nation

It's always encouraging to see Indigenous communities getting an opportunity like this, and the Elsipogtog First Nation is in the mix this year! The Elsipogtog First Nation is a Miꞌkmaq First Nations band government, and there are approximately 3300 people living on the First Nation. Elsipogtog means "River of Fire" which seems not-good for hockey, but former NHL player Everett Sanipass comes from Elsipogtog First Nation! Like Bobcaygeon, there really isn't a lot about which one can humble-brag in Elsipogtog First Nation, and there's not even a popular song which I can quote.


31 kilometers northwest of Regina is where you'll find Lumsden, Saskatchewan. Wikipedia says it's an "unofficial suburb of Regina", but that seems ridiculous so we'll ignore that. Originally called "Happy Hollow", the name was changed in 1889 to honour Hugh Lumsden, a senior engineer with the Qu'Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railway. If there's one highlight that Lumsden can be proud of, Harrowsmith Magazine in 2002 named Lumsden as the "prettiest" town in the province despite the community flooding nearly every year. Since 1987, the 1800 citizens of Lumsden participate in the Lumsden Duck Derby where hundreds of rubber ducks are raced down the Qu'Appelle River to raise money for the community. In terms of sports, the Calgary Oval X-Treme and the Minnesota Whitecaps played the Western Women's Hockey League's second championship at the Lumsden arena, and former NHLer Tanner Glass calls Lumsden home. Outside of rubber ducks and a couple of hockey moments, Lumsden seems like it has a few things about which its citizens can boast.

Saint Adolphe

Really, there's no comparison here. Saint Adolphe has around 1400 people living in the community, but it's a community who goes big when they see an opportunity. Originally called Pointe-Coupée, the town was renamed after Adolphe Turner who made a large donation to the local church. A group of French nuns from the Filles de la Croix order opened a Roman Catholic convent in 1906 that led to the construction of the church in 1913, and that church still stands in town today. Because the town lives in the Red River valley, there were often floods until the construction of a ring dyke that has kept the town dry since 1967 (take note, Lumsden). Shawn Limpright, who played in the CHL and ECHL, is the only notable hockey player from the town, but people from all over Manitoba flock to Saint Adolphe for A Maze In Corn and the world's largest snow maze on the planet (no song needed, Bobcaygeon). Needless to say, Saint Adolphe is, in this writer's opinion, the coolest town of the four finalists.

My opinion matters little in the contest run by Kraft, though, so it's up to you, Manitoba, to push Saint Adolphe ahead of the other three finalists. On April 9, you'll be required to log into the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville website at 8am where you can vote for Saint Adolphe and not the other finalists for 24 hours. Voting will close on Saturday, April 10, so make sure you log into the website, mash the voting buttons as often as you can, and let's bring NHL hockey to a great southern Manitoba community!

We can use a big dose of hockey in rural Manitoba where most of hockey was cancelled without any chance to hit the ice, so let's bring the NHL to Saint Adolphe and have some preseason fun!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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