Reigning Herder champions, the Clarenville Caribous, will have the chance to defend their title on home ice starting this weekend.

Games one and two of the finals against the Eastlink CeeBee Stars will be held at the Clarenville Events Centre.

Last year, fans had to travel to St. John's or Corner Brook to cheer on their team.

Frazer Russell, deputy mayor of Clarenville, said fans are excited to have their team playing on home ice.

"Last year there was quite a fuss about it, and this year, [Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador], in their wisdom, decided that maybe it's time to play it in the rinks of the teams that are participating," Russell said. "We're excited to be having it in Clarenville."

He said hotels are filled up in and around town with people coming from across the province to see the game.

Busy with preparations

Todd Cole, rink manager, said it's been a hectic week to prepare for the event.

"The last three days it's been crazy. We left here at 10:30 last night - supposed to be finished at five yesterday - and we're at about now probably 1,700 tickets gone," Cole said.

"The phone is still going crazy, we're still trying to get back to everybody, but we're certainly hoping for a near sell-out. We can to 2,250 and we're just about there."


Frazer Russell, deputy mayor of Clarenville, says residents are excited to have the team back on home ice. (CBC)

Russell said hosting the event is going to be a good boost for local businesses.

"It has a great effect on our economy, with the gas bars, the restaurants," Russell said.

"You can't get a hotel in Clarenville now this weekend. It has quite a big dollar value any time that you bring 800 or 900 visitors into your town for a weekend."

The games are expected to sell out, with fans flocking in from across the province to see the home opener.