I am not sure how many of you heard the news that the Calumet Colosseum was chosen as the 2019 Kraft Hockeyville ice rink. It is an annual contest in which a rink goes through a pretty extensive process to be picked the winner. This past spring, the Calumet Colosseum was chosen and one the grand prize o $150,000 in rink upgrades as well as the opportunity to host a pre-season professional hockey game.

Ever since the announcement was made that Calumet won, there has been a lot lot of excitement about it and many were wondering how it would go to obtain a ticket. The way the tickets ended up being distributed was the every child in the Copper Country Hockey league and Copper Country Figure Skating program were to get a ticket for themselves and a parent/guardian. The rest of the tickets were distributed by a drawing process.

With Grace being in the figure skating program that meant she got a ticket for herself and one for Nora or I. Nora graciously said I could be the one to accompany Grace to the game.

The festivities started on Monday, with a gathering open to the public at the Calumet Greens, a park in Calumet. I was busy with several different things, so could not attend, but everyone I talked to that had been to it said they thought it was great.

The Stanley Cup was in town for the event and it made it’s apperance at several places. It spent quite a bit of time at the Calumet schools. Each classroom was able to get their picture taken with the cup, as well as the administration. So Nora and Bleau got to get their picture taken with the cup. Bleau then asked if he could drink some water from the shinny bowl on the top, but the Keeper of the Cub refused, which caused Bleau to avoid getting his picture taken in any further attempts.

All of the elementary school kids also had the chance to skate on the rink. Some of the younger ones even were able to attend a clinic with some of the pro players. Grace’s age level were part of the group that got to skate on the rink. The rink had several special additions made to it for the game, one of them being the addition of the NHL logo on the ice.

The big day was Thursday when the teams arrived at the airport and made their way to the rink. They were escorted by law enforcement, as well as fire engines. Grace, Nora and I gathered for dinner before the game and then Grace and I headed over to the rink. The doors opened around 90 minutes before the game started and Grace and I were among the first inside. Kraft had samples of some of their products, like Bagel Bites and Maxwell House coffee. The consession stand was also stocked with Kraft products. We found our seats and then went to check things out.

The players took the ice for their pre-game skate and so we headed back to the area by our seats to watch. There were a handfull of kids and parents lined up along the glass watching and some of the players were tossing pucks over to them as souviners. In one instance, a kids tried to chatch the puck, but bobbled it and it fell to the floor and rolled towards some steps. Grace made a nice running dive and got the puck. When she got back to me, I mentioned to her how I thought she sould really give the puck to the boy, as the player was giving it to him. She did so without any hesitation or complaint and I was very proud of her. I could see she was disappointed that she could not keep the puck, but promised I would do my best to get her one.

So as the playwer were leaving the ice, there was just a handful of them left. One was skating towards us with the puck and I was standing behind Grace, pointing to her and mouthing the word “puck…puck…puck”. He saw it and fliped the puck into his hand and then tossed it over the glass to her. There was a sudden on-rush of others that tried to get the puck, but thankfully I had a bit of a height advantage over them and was able to grab it. So in the end, Gracie got her puck.

When we first walked into the rink, I saw the scoreboard and it looked so different, I wondered if they had brought in a new one for the game. A second look revealed that it was the same scoreboard, just with professional teams on it and the Hockeyville logos. As the game was winding down, I took a panorama of the rink and all the fans packing the house. Among them were big names like Steve Yzerman a Red Wings great and current General Manager. The commissioner of the league Gary Bettman was also on had for the game. In typical yooper class, Bettman was not booed, but got a nice ovation. That made me very proud to be part of the crowd.

The Red Wings ended up defeating the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues 4-1. Watching the game was a very fun, but also very weird experience. I have been to many an event there. Most of them figure skating practices, but also quite a few high school hockey and Calumet Wolverine hockey games. Seeing the pros play there and also all the improvements and changes to the rink was very hard for me to get my mind around. It will be a memory that both Grace and I will remember forever.

The barndeminum project is moving along. It has been two weeks since I last wrote and it was nearly shelled in at that time. Two days later, it was completely shelled in and also had all the water proffing had been put on the roof and walls. The openings for the windows were also covered in house wrap to keep the weather out. A few days later, the spray foam insulation was blown into the wall cavities and the next day they did the clean up.

On some of the days I have been there working, I have brought my laptop computer along to be able to stay there and do my work, rather than commute the 5 miles back to the camper. I am looking forward to the day when my entire office is there and I am living there full time! With a bit of luck, that may come sometime this week, as all I need at this point is electricity and the service entry equipment as well as the main breaker panel are set up. The office currently does not have walls or ceiling up and the bathroom is not set up either, but I can actually live and work there with that setup, and plan to!

About a week ago, we hosted our first bonefire and cook out. It is a pretty regular event amongst the friends we have down here and we were very happy and excited to be able to do the hosting, rather than just show up and eat!

Despite the fact that it is late September, we are still having some days and evenings that are great to be at the beach and have been making visits to it pretty frequently. We do not stay long, but it allows the dogs to run free and us a bit of time to just relax and do nothing. The other evening, I was driving home from the build site around sunset. As I drove west down the road we will live on, the sun was setting directly ahead of me and the view was so beautiful and tranquil, I stopped to take a picture to share with you all. Pay no attention to the shape the road is in, it will be getting re-paved in a few weeks!

So I guess that covers it for this week. I am looking very forward to moving into the barndeminium. It will give me a nice jolt of energy and also a bit of extra time. I also am looking forward to getting the website back up and running at it’s typical clip. I will have a web cam down there, but also a webcam at my brothers place in Allouez, so you can see how the snow is doing in the high country and the banana belt. I also hope to get a wildlife cam going in the woods by the barndeminium, as we have it all down there. Lots of deer, coyotes, quite a few wolves and in the summer, bear. Plus porcupines and plenty of birds. I also plan to get my season outlook produced by the second week of October. So keep checking back, things will be getting a lot more active around here soon!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..