ST. JOHN’S, NL. — Besides being reporters, photographers and videographers, like you, we’re hockey fans. Passionate hockey fans. And we are very proud to welcome the entire Canadiens fanbase to our backyard. With the Montreal Canadiens moving their AHL affiliate to St. John’s, we are excited to introduce you to the city that Habs prospects will be calling home.
St. John’s is North America’s oldest city. The Capital of Newfoundland and Labrador calls the rocky shores of the Atlantic home, with a population of nearly 200,000 in the metro and surrounding areas. With almost half the province compressed into one area, it became a natural breeding ground for competitive sports and in turn, minor hockey structure which results in multiple organizations with hundreds of registrants every year.
This in itself is the first line of what drives hockey fans in Newfoundland and Labrador. Parents are accustomed to travelling between towns and cities for Tuesday night games or hours across the province for a tournament in Central Newfoundland. Likewise the children develop a love for the game at an early age and that love for the game becomes ingrained in the culture of what it means to be from this province.
Newfoundland and Labrador is such a diverse province, with such a large area and relatively small population you can drive for hours at times without seeing a gas stop, depending on which part of the province you’re in. These smaller outport communities that call rural Newfoundland and Labrador home rely on hockey, as a means of entertainment. Community pride is at stake, no matter the level of the players, from Novice to Senior, when a game is being played at the local rink you can guarantee to see more than just the parents of the players in the stands.
In St. John’s the culture remains, in recent years there has been an influx of out-port communities dwindling while their former inhabitants flock to St. John’s looking for steadier work or to attend post-secondary school. Although they find themselves in a larger city the passion for the sport still remains. This is where the IceCaps come in. The Maple Leafs came to St. John’s in 1991, it was the pride of the province for the better part of 15 years. Once they left there was a void left behind, and “Townies” as residents of the St. John’s area are so elegantly referred to, filled this void with minor hockey, senior hockey and our passion only grew for the sport.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are quite possibly the most friendly people you will meet in a country which is perceived as one of the friendliest in the world. Everyone is willing to have a conversation with a stranger, and certainly if it means recapping last nights IceCaps game. Danny Williams, former premier of the province, played a large role along with ex-Hamilton Bulldogs president Glenn Stanford, in bringing the AHL back to this province. We are forever thankful to both individuals and their organization for giving us back our pride of the province, and have repaid them in full through the passion we show for the organization.
St. John’s is a city of culture, and hockey is such a large part of what we know, if you ever visit to take in migration of the Humpback Whales, visit Cape Spear (North America’s most easterly point) or even take in an IceCaps game be sure to stop and have a chat with anyone you see on the streets, chances are they’ll have a story to tell.
But no matter where you are across the globe, you can be confident that our IceCaps Hockey Report team will be at the Mile One Centre for every home game bringing the most comprehensive coverage to the All Habs community.
Welcome to St. John’s Habs fans!