The Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators enhanced their Stanley Cup playoff chances with victories Jan. 30, but the big winner on that 10th annual Tim Hortons Hockey Day in Canada was a picturesque southwestern Ontario community.
Thousands descended on Stratford, the Victorian city of 30,000, and the end result was $110,000 raised and divided amongst four hockey organizations.
Stratford Rotary Hockey, Stratford Girls Hockey Association, Stratford Minor Hockey Association and the Junior B Stratford Cullitons are the beneficiaries of local businesses and sponsors stepping forward to help cover costs.
Each received $22,000, as did CBC's Hockey Day in Canada Kids Help Fund, which assists underprivileged children with registration and equipment costs.
Revenue also was generated from an NHL alumni game, community banquet and dance, a concert featuring Canadian rock icon Randy Bachman and draw tickets.
"We always said any money we raised would be a bonus, and that the majority would stay in the community," Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson told the local Gazette newspaper before a recent cheque presentation at historic William Allman Arena.
Four hundred volunteers signed up for Hockey Day, and the community jumped on board with people on every street corner wearing Hockey Day jerseys, while stores were decorated with hockey memorabilia.
Stratford's hockey roots extend back to the late Howie Morenz, nicknamed the Stratford Streak, to current NHL defencemen and one-time Cullitons Rob Blake and Chris Pronger.
Allman Arena is the site for former NHL great Wayne Gretzky's first minor hockey goal, in 1968.