By Perry Lefko

There is something uniquely different about having Rogers Hometown Hockey come to your home town.

That was certainly the case for the Brampton family of Jesse Burdock and Naomi Rachlis and their children Ayla and Eilan, who were among many people who posed with the Stanley Cup at Garden Square on March 7. The Cup was on display as part of the outdoor festival leading up to the televised National Hockey League game on March 11 between the New York Islanders and the Calgary Flames.

Rogers Hometown Hockey visits 24 different cities throughout the NHL season to celebrate local hockey stories and the game’s biggest stars.

“It’s super exciting because this has been the first year with our five-year-old (Ayla) on a hockey team, the Brampton Canadettes,” said Naomi. “She’s had her first experience being part of a team, being part of the community, so the fact that it’s here and she gets to volunteer with her whole team is very exciting for us.

“The players are supposed to stand at the Canadettes booth and promote the team and get people engaged and involved and interested in the program because it’s so great and it’s so affordable. It’s been such a great opportunity for her to be on a team.”

Naomi added that having Hometown Hockey in Brampton is a chance to see and experience what other Canadian communities have when the event came to their hometown.

“It’s really special,” she said. “We live in downtown Brampton, so the fact we can walk here and see the Stanley Cup (is amazing). The one thing we’re disappointed about is it’s not a Toronto Maple Leafs game that is being televised. Other than that, anything to encourage hockey – because it’s such a huge part of our family life – and get everyone in Brampton involved is one more reason to celebrate together. It’s great for the community.”

There will be a variety of events at Garden Square the day before and the day of the game, including hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan talking about Brampton, promoting some of the city’s landmarks and a feature on the Flames’ Sean Monahan, who was born and raised in Brampton.

“It should be exciting. I bet you there’s going to be a big turnout,” Jesse said.

“Every Saturday night we watch hockey together as a family and Sundays it’s hometown hockey,” Naomi added. “The fact this weekend we get to watch it on the big screen with everybody in our community is bringing it out of our living room and into it being a group activity.”

-Photos by Perry Lefko

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