• Fan Fest offers fun from dawn to dark
  • 2011-05-19 02:57:41  
  • As director of marketing and events for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA), Kevin Boston’s No. 1 priority is promoting hockey.
    So when he and his wife Cheryl were approached by the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors about the opportunity to plan and manage the Memorial Cup Fan Fest, it’s only natural that he jumped at that opportunity.
    “We are over the top with this,” Boston said. “One of our mandates is to promote hockey. Throughout the year, (the OMHA) runs various outreach efforts to promote hockey and reach out to new Canadians in particular. We feel that this market will be a huge area to attract people just to learn more about hockey and hopefully register for the following season.”
    Beginning May 20, Fan Fest will be held at three of the Hershey Centre’s community rinks, each one featuring several exhibits and activities.
    Rink 2 will be the Pepsi Fun Zone, which will include interactive games, ball hockey, floorball and inline hockey demonstrations. This is the area Boston is most excited about.
    “We’re very committed to making this a very interactive fan experience,” he said. “From what we understand, no other Memorial Cup has gone to this extreme with the amount of interactive activities we have going. Others have just had shootout games and stuff like that.”
    The Boston Pizza Hall of Heroes will be located in Rink 3. Among other things, it features a Canadian Forces exhibit where people can try on military gear and sit in an F18 cockpit.
    People can also go to a fan forum stage where they can talk with National Hockey League alumni and current players.
    Rink 4 will be the site for the Molson Canadian Hockey House. This exhibit includes the beer gardens, a live dj, two projection screens to watch the games and a different live band performing at 10 p.m. each night.
    Fans can enter the Pepsi Fun Zone and Hall of Heroes free of charge while entry to Hockey House is free with a game ticket and $7 without one.
    “For $7 to come in and get some beers, hang out and watch hockey, you can’t beat it,” Boston said. “It’s cheaper than going to a local bar. Due to the quality of live acts we have coming in, we feel confident that people will stick around and have a good time.”
    Boston said preparations for Fan Fest began almost immediately after the Majors were awarded the right to host the Memorial Cup last May and organizers have been very busy over the past few months putting everything together.
    The OMHA’s event management team and some 150 volunteers are also helping out with the festivities.
    “It’s going to be an opportunity to show people that this isn’t just a Toronto Maple Leafs town. There’s other quality hockey here,” Boston said. “If you’re a hockey fan, come on out to the Hershey Centre and you’ll absolutely love the experience. If you get the chance to watch the games live, that’s great, otherwise it’ll be fantastic to just come on out and enjoy hockey.”


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