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Stanley Cup and NHL alumni coming to West Lorne, Ont. for Kraft Hockeyville week

Butch Purdue has been waiting to take his 11-year-old son Jimmy to see his favourite NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sunday afternoon, the West Lorne residents picked up their free tickets to Wednesday’s exhibition game between the Leafs and Buffalo Sabres being played in nearby St. Thomas, Ont.

“Tickets are normally so expensive, so just being able to take him to a game is what I am looking forward to,” said Butch.

The exhibition contest is being hosted by West Lorne as part of their Kraft Hockeyville (KH) contest win earlier this spring.

Over the past week, West Lorne minor hockey families, as well as West Elgin Skating Club members and some community members, qualified for the available tickets.

The game is being played at the Joe Thornton Community Centre, as West Lorne Arena isn’t suitable to host an NHL game due to capacity and safety standards.

Jimmy Purdue can’t wait to see his favourite players.

“I haven’t been to an NHL game and I want to see Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews,” said Jimmy.

The Kraft Hockeyville logo is painted on the ice at West Lorne Arena in West Lorne, Ont. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

A quick drive through the small Elgin County community, and the spirit was everywhere.

“We see a lot of decorated houses out there, blue and red and black and yellow,” said Jessica Small, a member of the West Lorne Kraft Hockeyville Committee. “People are getting really pumped for this week."

Those people include Peter Barnes and his son Daniel who picked up their tickets.

"I’ve been a Leafs fan my entire life,” said Peter. “So is Daniel, so it’s great we get to see this game thanks to Kraft Hockeyville.”

A day prior to the exhibition game, West Lorne will host a massive community celebration Tuesday.

Peter Barnes (left) and his son Daniel hold four tickets to the NHL exhibition game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres in St. Thomas, Ont. as part of Kraft Hockeyville on Sept. 24, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

“The Stanley Cup is coming to West Lorne, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Small. “We have our alumni from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, so Darcy Tucker and ‘Sugar’ Rob Ray will be here. We've got a free skate, food trucks and we've got games.”

The KH grand prize came along with $250,000 in arena upgrades. The committee is helping raise extra money for the minor hockey association by selling merchandise at the arena.

The legacy pieces are also now on display at the local rink.

“You'll see our ice (Hockeyville logo) will be there forever, as well as our pieces on the other side of the arena,” said Small. “Every time you drive through, you'll know that you know West Lorne won Kraft Hockeyville 2023. Then afterwards, it's on to the arena renovations. So we're excited to see what that looks like as well.” Top Stories

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