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Expedia includes Antigonish as a ‘must-see’ hockey town

Antigonish is joined by Windsor as Nova Scotia locations on the Expedia list. Windsor is noted for its hockey birthplace claim and places to see, such as the Hockey Heritage Museum which features numerous rooms of unique hockey antiques and memorabilia.
Antigonish is joined by Windsor as Nova Scotia locations on the Expedia list. Windsor is noted for its hockey birthplace claim and places to see, such as the Hockey Heritage Museum which features numerous rooms of unique hockey antiques and memorabilia. - Richard MacKenzie

Penalty-shots

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - A reminder; Antigonish is on the list.

Expedia Canada updated its 22 Must-Visit Hockey Towns in North America list from 2015, and reissued it out to their followers, for 2019.

“Chosen for their connection to this iconic pastime, either through deep history, loyal fans, contributions to the sport, or all the above, these places epitomize hockey season,” the Expedia message reads, adding; “this article was originally published in 2015, but traffic to the article has been surging over the course of the year, so we revamped the list and contents with fresh updates for 2019.”

Expedia is a leading global travel company.

The Expedia list was originally compiled in 2015 but has been reissued. File
The Expedia list was originally compiled in 2015 but has been reissued. File

“Without question, Antigonish has one of the best universities for hockey in Canada,” Expedia noted as part of their Antigonish citation. “Home to St. Francis Xavier University hockey teams, the X-Men and X-Women, this town guarantees full stands each home game. Enthusiasm isn’t relegated to the university, however; there is also the Antigonish Bulldogs, which bring the heat each match.”

Antigonish holds the distinction with one other Nova Scotia community – Windsor.

The other Canadian communities range from the massive (Vancouver, Edmonton) to the medium (Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Sherbrooke- Quebec) to the very small (Plaster Rock, New Brunswick).

Other communities fall somewhere in between with Ontario leading the way as far as provincial representation with, along with Thunder Bay, five other communities; Kingston, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Owen Sound and Kirkland Lake.

Penticton and North Cowichan/Duncan join Vancouver as B.C. representation while Prince Albert joins Saskatoon for Saskatchewan. Edmonton is, surprisingly, the lone Alberta community while border community Flin Flon gets Manitoba on the board.

There is no community from Canada’s smallest province, P.E.I., Newfoundland, or the three territories, listed.

U.S. places are all large cities with, not coincidentally, NHL teams. The list includes; Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Jose.

San Jose? Really Expedia?

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Anyway, nice for Antigonish to be noted and for both X hockey and the Bulldogs to be recognized.

You would think Windsor being included back in 2015 might have helped that community finally land a decent arena. It’s hard to believe the more barn-like building known as the Hants Exhibition Arena is still that community’s main rink and home to the junior ‘B’ Valley Maple Leafs.

Antigonish is joined by Windsor as Nova Scotia locations on the Expedia list. Windsor is noted for its hockey birthplace claim and places to see, such as the Hockey Heritage Museum which features numerous rooms of unique hockey antiques and memorabilia.
Antigonish is joined by Windsor as Nova Scotia locations on the Expedia list. Windsor is noted for its hockey birthplace claim and places to see, such as the Hockey Heritage Museum which features numerous rooms of unique hockey antiques and memorabilia.

It was one of the more undesirable arenas to play in when I played junior way back in the 1980s in the old Mainland Junior League (edged out as most undesirable by the old, and very small, East Hants Arena, with its exposed concrete pillars just beyond the dasher boards), and still held that dubious distinction (now in first place with East Hants long ago replacing their building) when I coached in the junior ‘B’ league only a couple of seasons ago.

Penticton is another community I have a lot of familiarity with having worked for the Okanagan Hockey School for two consecutive summers in the early 2000s.

At that time, its old arena, the Penticton Memorial Arena, was just holding on, as plans for a new building – the South Okanagan Event Centre – were in place and came to fruition in 2008.

I can remember the old arena very distinctly with its dark blue wooden bleachers and warm temperatures where any ice, let alone a full rink, seemed to defy reality.

I remember many weeks during my first summer with mid-30 temperatures outside daily and the arena not being much relief.

Fortunately, there was a beautiful lake with a sandy beach, right off the quaint downtown, only a block away. That, in a nutshell, is the Okanagan for you.

The old arena also included the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame which was fun to browse through; something I did frequently.

The biggest display was for the Penticton Vs senior team from 1955 who won the World Championship, long before the event featured NHLers from teams who missed the playoffs or were quickly dispatched in round one.

An incredible piece of hockey history and, definitely, an element of what has Penticton on the ‘Must-Visit’ list.        

   

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