Nighthawks Plan Big Opening Weekend

Aug 22, 2022

By: Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen

The time is quickly approaching for the debut of the Niverville Nighthawks, the newest team in the MJHL. Plans for the opening weekend, September 16–17, have been in the works all summer.

The first Nighthawks home game will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, at the CRRC, against the Steinbach Pistons.

The night before, on Friday, the CRRC will be hosting an open house to celebrate the team and welcome them to town. There will be various stations for people to come out and try different free activities at the rec centre, such as basketball and batting cages.

“We had the official opening of the facility on July 1, 2021, so this is now kind of a celebratory weekend for the kickoff of the hockey team,” says Niverville mayor Myron Dyck. “Putting the whole centre out there and on display for people to come is going to be great for our town.”

On Saturday, the early part of the day will feature a series of minor hockey skates, and the kids will get to play on the ice and take part in other activities in the neighbouring fieldhouse. This portion of the day will last from around noon until 2:30 p.m. After that, a band will be setting up along with a 24-foot television to broadcast the game in the fieldhouse.

“We are calling this portion the ‘watch party,’ and doors will open for this around 3:30 p.m.,” says Bryan Trottier of the Nighthawks board of directors. “The beer gardens will open and the game will be live broadcast to the gym. We did this in case we sold the game out and there were more people that wanted to watch.”

The game time is 5:00 p.m., and afterward a big social will begin in the fieldhouse. The Nighthawks have invited Big Top Radio to play throughout the rest of the evening.

The social will include a silent auction consisting of Nighthawks gear, game tickets, and other swag. There will also be a concise program, including player introductions, after the band takes their first break.

“Lots of volunteers and committees are coming together to help ensure things are together in time for opening night,” says Ray Dowse, vice-president of the board. “It’s incredible, the number of people coming together, putting in a lot of time and effort to help make this a reality for the community. This would not be possible without the contingency of volunteers working together.”

In addition to some awesome Nighthawks-related prizes at the social, a whole range of team merchandise will be rolled out that night and be available for sale for the first time. Guests will also have the opportunity to order a team jersey.

The CRRC facility will be licensed for both the game and the watch party, so people will be able to enjoy the team’s brand-new Nighthawk lager that night, produced by Torque Brewing. Everyone in attendance will receive a free team puck and commemorative magazine.

“It’s going to be an awesome way to kick off the first-ever Nighthawks season,” says Dowse. “We are really going to give the CRRC a good test run the weekend of the seventeenth!”

Other surprises are lined up for the weekend that have yet to be announced. Fans should stay tuned.

“We’ve been working with the team for the better part of a year, so we’re very much looking forward to the opening game,” says Mayor Dyck. “We understand the Premier will be in attendance too. So we’re very grateful and thankful to the board for all their hard work. I’m very appreciative of the sponsors, shareholders, and all those who have put in dollars, cents, and time to make this happen. On behalf of myself, I want to express an extreme thanks to all of them… As far as the event goes and what this means to the community, there’s tremendous excitement for everything with the team. We’re also excited to welcome the players, coaches, and everyone involved with the team.”

Tickets will be going on sale this week, with season tickets available as of Monday, August 22. Last week, team shareholders, billeting families, and sponsors were given the opportunity to secure season tickets in advance.