On Feb 17. local fans will be cheering as former Vancouver Canuck and Revelstoke native Aaron Volpatti’s jersey makes its way up to the rafters of the Revelstoke Forum. It’s all part of a community day of hockey hosted by the Revelstoke Minor Hockey Association, the History of Hockey, and the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
“I am honoured and humbled,” said Volpatti. “It’s completely unnecessary, but very cool.”
The hockey day comes following a banner year for minor hockey in Revelstoke. Enrollment has increased by 20 per cent.
“Hockey has made a huge comeback in Revelstoke this year, and we wanted to make this a large event,” said Matt Cameron, president of the Revelstoke Minor Hockey Association.
Volpatti and Grizzlies coach Ryan Parent will be hitting the ice with tykes and pre-novice players in the morning before coaching a novice game later in the day.
Following the novice game there will be a Chuck-a-Puck fundraiser after which Volpatti’s jersey will be raised to the rafters before a midget game in the afternoon. The event will wrap up with the last Grizzlies of the season in evening where free admission will be provided for minor league hockey players.
Former NHLer Volpatti — whose jersey will be retired on Feb. 17 — grew up in Revelstoke and played in the building as a teen.
He said he has fond memories of his time on the ice at the Forum, but remembers the camaraderie more than the competition.
“I just remember the camaraderie, you don’t think about that as a kid,” said Volpatti. “Tournaments were always a really fun thing where you had popsicles and oranges and would just play hockey all day. It’s a pretty special thing to have as a kid in your life.”
The Revelstoke native also said he’s looking forward to getting back on the ice. He’s in town “a few times a month,” but hasn’t skated on the ice at the Forum in the last year.
Volpatti said he only found out about the event two months ago and praised the local minor hockey association.
“It’s obviously great to have any team available as an option for kids,” said Volpatti. “For the community to support it in the way they do, it’s incredible.”
Cameron said the idea was just to keep it fun and light and let kids know they are valued by the community.
“There will be a public skate and it will end with the Grizzlies’ last game of the season. Minor hockey kids will be allowed in at no cost,” said Cameron. “We’re not the only one doing this kind of thing, but this year it’s a packed agenda and it will be really special.”