National pride was all over town this week. Everywhere you turned there were maple leaf flags, or wild and crazy Latvians wearing horns! Halifax really stepped up to the plate and is showing how to put on a world-class event. Kinda makes you wonder what we would have done with the Commonwealth Games.
The hockey fever continued this week and for a fan of classic 1970s hockey, this was a thrilling week. It started on Tuesday with the Lunch for the Legends. Some of the greatest hockey players this country has ever produced reunited for a private luncheon at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Eighteen members of the Team Canada 1976 met with fans and spoke about the classic gold medal series. Scotty Bowman, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, Lanny MacDonald, Darryl Sittler, Pete Mahovlich and Denis Potvin were all there and my childhood was flashing before my eyes.
The “greatest team ever assembled” were then honoured during the first intermission of the Canada-USA game at the Metro Centre to thunderous applause.
I got the chance to be immersed in Latvian culture at the Seahorse Tavern this week. The hockey team’s fans have been the life of the party and unmistakable with their horns and drums everywhere in the downtown. The Seahorse declared Latvian Night, there was Latvian beer flowing upstairs at the Shoe Shop, and word is some of the menus were even translated into Latvian. That’s showing ‘em the Bluenose hospitality!
Curious to see some of the IIHF games from Quebec, I deeked into Fan Fest at the World Trade and Convention Centre. The Quebec games are all being broadcast on the big screen and fans can trickle out of the Metro Centre and play some games of their own for prizes.
On Thursday, Canada’s hockey Dad was in town for a very special cause. Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne was the guest speaker at a luncheon for the Salvation Army. Gretzky has made a life helping to raise money for numerous charities. He’s a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, does fundraising for the CNIB and this week was helping out with the Red Shield. He truly is a man of a thousand stories and told tales of raising the greatest hockey player ever, the loss of his wife in 2005 and Grandma Gretzky going after an opponent of Wayne’s with her handbag! True to his down to earth nature, Gretzky refused to be put up in a hotel during his visit, staying instead with Salvation Army media spokesman Ron Zima and his family.
Many of the Argyle Street eateries rolled out the patios for the IIHF World Hockey Championship, but Thursday was the official kick off to patio season in Halifax. Too bad it was damp and cool.
The Coors Light Patio Party at the Argyle was moved indoors where the Maxim Caddies had set up shop downstairs. I may have missed out on the hot tub on the patio, but golf season looks like it’ll be a winner!
The week wrapped up with a free concert at the Palace with Thornley headlining and Chris Colepaugh opening. Concertgoers were adorned in red and white for the occasion, dubbed as the Canada Day Concert.
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National pride was all over town this week.