This will be a homecoming for Dion Phaneuf. Yes, this small city of 14,500 is thrilled to host an NHL exhibition game between the New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators, but the most excited person in the Credit Union Centre may be wearing a No. 2 jersey with the name Phaneuf on the back. As the Senators arrived Sunday for rest and relaxation before facing the Devils Monday night in the Kraft Hockeyville Game being held at the 4,228-seat building, the 32-year-old Phaneuf is buoyed to play in front of family and friends in the place he makes his off-season home with his wife Elisha Cuthbert. “I skate at this rink we’re playing at and I’ve skated there right before camp when we’re getting ready,” the club's alternate captain told Postmedia in an interview before leaving Ottawa. “Hockey on Prince Edward Island is a big thing. They’re very passionate about their hockey. “I’ll just say there’s lots of Eastern Conference hats on PEI. People are really passionate about the game and it’s going to be great event for the Island.” The small town of O’Leary, PEI won the Hockeyville competition in April over Ituna, Saskatchewan. Both communities received $100,000 in funding for upgrades to their rinks. The decision was made to move the game 45 minutes away to Summerside because the O’Leary Community Sports Centre can only hold 1,200-to-1,500. A full day of activities was planned in O’Leary Sunday to celebrate the game and this allows more people to have access to attend. The hockey roots run deep in PEI: Former Senators’ coach Dave Cameron, Las Vegas coach Gerard Gallant and former Columbus GM Doug MacLean are all from here while Summerside is the home of Ottawa chief pro scout Jim Clark.
No place like home for Phaneuf
Ottawa Sun | Sep 25