Hockey fans on Fogo Island are in for a special St. Patrick's Day treat this year as alumni from the Montreal Canadiens will travel to the island to take on a team of local players.
It all started in September, when the Canadiens Alumni Association contacted the Town of Fogo to see if it would be interested in hosting the players on March 17.
"I think with the recent popularity of Fogo Island — and of course with the development of the Fogo Island Inn and the Shorefast Foundation and the increased notoriety there — they had reached out to [the town] initially," said Jeff Neil, a local school principal who is one of the organizers for the visit.
"We were astounded at first. We didn't know what to think, but we knew it was a fantastic opportunity."
Neil and others immediately put a committee together to start planning the players' stay in Fogo and the big game at the local Iceberg Arena.
Most of the approximately 500 tickets for the game have been sold, but there is still some standing room left for anyone who wants to attend.
The Shorefast Foundation has bought some of the tickets and is offering its own special package through the Fogo Island Inn for its guests.
Players so far
Though not all the players have been confirmed yet, some of the former Canadiens stars set to play include Steve Shutt, Stéphane Richer, Patrice Brisebois, Marc-André Bergeron and Chris Nilan.
In addition to the actual game, the players will also be taking part in other activities around town — including a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Tilting, which has been called the most Irish place in the world outside of Ireland.
Game of a lifetime for local players
The Canadiens alumni team will be facing off against the local Fogo Island men's team, called the Islanders. It's made up of a bunch of guys who play for fun on the island and occasionally travel around the province to take on other men's league teams.
Adam Young is one of the members, and while he's a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and would love a chance to put the Habs in their place, he doesn't expect his team to have much of a chance against the former Montreal stars.
"We're going to get embarrassed no matter what, I know that right off the bat. If they want to beat us, they're going to beat us," he said.
"But we are all pretty excited. This is a chance of a lifetime here for a lot of the guys."