A couple of weeks ago, I decided to pay a visit to a good friend of mine, down in Guelph Ontario. Amidst the century old Victorian buildings that call Guelph home, exists one of the cities most prized possessions…the Guelph Storm hockey team! During my visit, I was fortunate enough to take in one of their games at downtown’s Sleeman Centre, and what a great experience it was. Despite the fact that the Guelph Storm are just a Junior A team, the atmosphere and fan devotion clearly rivals that of any major league team.
As a child, I remember when my dad used to take me to Toronto Marlie games at Maple Leaf Gardens. Little did I know at the time that what began as the original Toronto Marlborough’s hockey team, back in 1904, eventually would become the Guelph Storm hockey team in 1991! Since then, the Storm have gone on to win a number of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) championships, and are presently the second ranked Junior A team in the country. They have even seen several of their players rise to the ranks of the National Hockey League (NHL) over the years.
What I found quite remarkable was the vibe and spirit that I witnessed firsthand, as soon as I walked into the Sleeman Centre, with roughly 3,500 fans covered head-to-toe in Storm colours, standing behind their team. I’ve been to a few hockey games in my time, but it was really impressive to see this level of commitment for a hockey team in what could still be considered “small town” Ontario. It really goes to show you that the glitz and glamor of the big leagues can’t outshine the core community aspect of small town hockey. What was even better (unlike big league games) was the fact that the tickets were reasonably priced. This allowed anyone from families and children, to hard core hockey nuts to come out and enjoy a game without putting a hole in their pocket book.
If I want to escape the madness of a big league hockey game, I now know where to go! With their devoted fan-base and hardworking team, the Guelph Storm truly embody what hockey means in Canada!
If you would like to get tickets for the next Storm game, or want to see a full season schedule, check out their website: www.guelphstorm.com for more information.
Guelph Storm- Sleeman Center
50 Woolwich St.