HOUGHTON — The city of Houghton put out the call to residents to pack the Dee, and they did.
In a strong show of support for the city’s claim to the Hockeyville USA title, hundreds of hockey lovers participated in a group photo decked out in their hockey jerseys and gear.
And why do they believe Houghton should win the national contest sponsored by Kraft Foods? Just ask any one of them.
“It’s the birthplace of professional hockey,” Kelsey Laban of Houghton said. “Right here in this stadium is where it all started.”
“Well, Houghton is the birthplace of professional hockey,” Mike Lowney of Houghton said.
“They’re the birthplace of professional hockey,” Bennett Sturos of Hancock said.
“It’s the birthplace of professional hockey,” Blake Hietala of Houghton said. “It has a rich history in the area.”
Houghton’s rich hockey history goes back along way.
“People here have always been playing hockey,” Lowney said. “When we were kids, we played street hockey. In the neighborhood, we’d make a rink and play hockey. I grew up in Hancock and played at Laurn Grove.”
And the people here are pretty good at it.
“And they have a lot of good hockey players here,” Sturos said. “They can block shots and they can shoot the puck.”
You don’t have to play hockey to love it.
Houghton High School student Kelsey Laban said, “It means a great time! I love going out to watch the games, whether they are local games or professional games.”
But if you want to see the passion for hockey in the area, look no further than these local hockey standouts and Michigan Tech Huskies players.
“If you walk through the streets, people are wearing their jerseys,” Hietala said. “People drop their kids off at the rink and let them hang out here all day. It’s just what everyone does.”
“It’s kind of what we live for around here,” Hancock native Tanner Kero said. “Everyone wants to go to the games. They go to (Portage Lake) Pioneers games, whether it’s Michigan Tech, high school. It’s kind of a way of life and everyone just rallies around it.”
You can still nominate Houghton’s Dee Stadium, the Calumet Colosseum or Lakeview Arena in Marquette by visiting krafthockeyville.com before March 18th.