The Kamloops-bound Peterborough Petes will feel the love again this coming weekend with community watch parties confirmed at Quaker Foods City Square in downtown Peterborough for the club’s Saturday and Sunday games.
On Saturday (May 27), the Ontario Hockey League champion Petes begin their bid for the second Memorial Cup, taking on the Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds to open the round-robin portion of the 103rd Canadian junior hockey championships. The following day, Sunday (May 28th), the Petes will do battle with the host Kamloops Blazers in game two of tournament’s opening round.
Both community watch parties, featuring TSN’s broadcast screened on a 16-foot video wall provided by Porter Sound, begin at 5 p.m. with puck drop for both games at 6 p.m.
According to the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA), which is partnering with the City of Peterborough and sponsors including kawarthaNOW to present the weekend events, a plan to have a community watch party for the Petes’ third round-robin game versus the Québec Remparts on May 30th has been scrapped due to the late 9 p.m. EST start time and a related concern over the volume of crowd noise at a late hour.
The watch parties will also feature a kids’ fun zone, a small vendors market with food and snacks, and a beer garden provided by Bobcaygeon Brewery in partnership with Sandbagger Seltzer. Fans are asked to bring their own chairs and cash if they would like to purchase from any of the vendors Those who can’t make it to the square this weekend to take in the on-ice action fans can catch the Petes’ Memorial Cup games on OHL Live, TSN, Freq 90.5, Oldies 96.7, and Classic Rock 107.9.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Quaker Foods City Square filled with fans, watching the games together, cheering on their Petes,” says Peterborough mayor Jeff Leal in a media release. ” The community spirit has been brilliant. Thank you to the Downtown Business Improvement Area for organizing and hosting these family-friendly watch parties with support from the City of Peterborough. By partnering, we’re able to bring together our community to cheer on our Petes.”
The weekend watch parties are being organized based on the success of a like event that was held May 19th for game five of the Petes’ OHL championship series against the London Knights that drew close to 500 fans to Quaker Foods City Square.
The Petes lost that game 4-1 but rebounded two nights later with a 2-1 win to claim their 10th J. Robertson Cup as OHL champions.
That was followed on May 22nd by a community celebration of the Petes’ championship win, again attended by about 500 people, most sporting the club’s maroon-and-white colours. At that event, Petes players, coaches, and management received a raucous welcome.
Afterwards, DBIA executive chair Terry Guiel praised the square as a location for such events.
“It makes a city a livable, enjoyable place,” he said. “We have diehard fans of the downtown but there’s also a large demographic that’s new to Peterborough. We need to introduce them to the downtown as well as reintroduce people who haven’t come downtown in awhile.”
Peterborough Mayor Jeff Leal echoed that sentiment.
“This is exactly the kind of event that we want here,” he said,” adding “It’s the perfect venue for something like this.”
Completed in fall of last year at the site of the former Louis Street parking lot, the Quaker Foods City Square hosted ice skating throughout the winter season and recently became the new home of the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market that will operate every Wednesday and Saturday until October 28th.
Key funders of the project included the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) which provided $750,000, the City of Peterborough which contributed $677,909, and the DBIA with a $50,000 donation.
Last September, Peterborough city council approved a naming rights agreement with PepsiCo Foods which, through its Quaker brand, will pay $240,000 over 15 years for the city square’s name.
This story has been updated with additional information from a Peterborough DBIA media release.