Small city bursts with pride over Bathurst's Memorial Cup win
Titan beat Regina Pats 3-0 to win hockey team's 1st national championship in franchise history
You're never too small to have a big goal.
That's the message Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie wants his community to take away from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan's win of the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup final Sunday.
"Even though we're from a small community, we can achieve great things," said Fongemie in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.
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The team beat the Regina Pats 3-0 to win their first Memorial Cup in franchise history at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
While the final was played in Saskatchewan over the weekend, that didn't stop the northern New Brunswick city from witnessing the big game.
Now we can have our parade!!! Bravo les Titans!! <a href="https://t.co/jvqMzI4TgY">pic.twitter.com/jvqMzI4TgY</a>—@pfongemie
Thousands of people showed up early to the city's viewing party at the Promenade Waterfront Park on Sunday, where they watched on a giant screen.
The words "Go Titans Go" were also flashing on many business signs in Bathurst. Others had signs up outside featuring the team logo and flags.
The Titan heavily outshot Regina for the first two periods, but the Pats were kept in the game by their goaltender Max Paddock, who turned away 41 of 43 shots.
Fongemie said this kept viewers in suspense, and the game brought "a roller-coaster of emotions" to the crowd.
"The second period they were just dominating [Titan]," he said. "They couldn't get that second goal and everybody was nervous … that the other team might even score."
Even after the team won, people were driving around honking their horns. Fongemie said his cellphone was ringing off the hook.
"Everyone was so proud of the Titans," he said. "No matter what happened they are champions."
History in the making
The Titan moved 20 years ago to Bathurst, one of the smallest markets in the Canadian Hockey League.
The team, which was making its second appearance at the Memorial Cup and first since its first year in Bathurst, has consistently ranked among the lowest in league attendance.
The low draws, talk of possible relocation and poor on-ice results led to the Titan being sold by Leo-Guy Morrissette in 2013.
Fongemie said the team has overcome years of trials and tribulations, which would inspire local athletes, but also residents and businesses.
"Their achievement will help boost the morale for everybody up north in the province," he said.
"Everybody who has a north shore connection is very proud of our team."
The team is set to return home early Monday evening, where the players can expect to be greeted by hundreds of fans.
The city said it will also hold a parade at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, starting at the Promenade Waterfront, going along Main Street to King Avenue and winding up at Coronation Park, where there will be a celebration ceremony at about 7 p.m.
The mayor is also hoping to commemorate the win by putting it on the city's "Welcome to Bathurst" sign on the approaches to the city.
"It's going to be a week full of celebrations," he said. "History has been written."
With files from the Canadian Press and Gail Harding