Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Hometown

February 19. 2013 10:20PM
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Two weeks ago we visited Phil Dupuis' hometown of Laval, Quebec – a place put on the map by Mario Lemieux.

Today, it's a similar situation with Alex Grant's hometown. Despite being tucked away way up in the northeast along the Atlantic Ocean, many people in the Wilkes-Barre area are familiar with Antigonish, Nova Scotia, because it's the home of another former Penguin great, Dennis Bonvie.

Is Bonvie as well-known in Antigonish as he is in Wilkes-Barre? Well, Grant will let us know.

Still, the town has some other notable attributes, such as being home to the oldest continuous Highland Games on the continent (held since 1863), some great scenery as it is flanked by the beach and farmland, and plenty of history.

Like any small town, Antigonish has a laid back atmosphere with plenty of hard-working people. It's the place where Grant developed the work ethic he has today as a pro hockey player.

Player: Alex Grant

Hometown: Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Type: Small town

Population: 4,524 (2011 Census)

Distance from Wilkes-Barre: 1,012 miles

Is Dennis Bonvie as popular in Antigonish as he is in Wilkes-Barre? He's well-known, that's for sure. He doesn't live there as much anymore because he's back here, but every summer Dennis goes back and hosts a big golf tournament that raises money for underprivileged kids. He's still a big part of the Antigonish community.

What's the area like? It's a proud area and the people are very friendly and easy-going. It's close to the water and you have a lot of farms, the ocean and several lakes. I'm proud to be from there and I always love returning home.

What did you do as a kid outside of hockey while growing up in Antigonish? Summers were a busy time for me. It was all about the beach and water, and I also played a lot of sports such as baseball, soccer and football. I was pretty busy in the summer while growing up.

Is there a big event that Antigonish is famous for in Nova Scotia? The Highland Games. It's held every summer and it's a big deal. Most of the people that have moved away from Antigonish always come back for it and spend the weekend.

Did you have any summer jobs as a kid? I worked at the golf course for a few summer and delivered the local newspaper for a couple years. The paper came out once a week, every Tuesday evening. I had 60 houses to deliver to and my father would drive me around most of the time. I was lucky.

Is there anything about Wilkes-Barre that reminds you of Antigonish? The people. They're very friendly and hard-working in both towns.

What do people do for work in Antigonish? Mostly construction or the stores in the downtown. There are no big factories. A lot of people go out west to Alberta to work on the oil rigs for a couple weeks at a time and then come home.

Where do you like to hang out in Antigonish? There are a couple of sports bars my friends and I will go to to watch hockey or football, whichever is in season. My favorite place is The Wheel. It's a pizza place and I love it.

Would you like to move back to Antigonish after hockey? Definitely. There's not a whole lot there as far as work and it's a pretty small town, but if I was to settle down that's where it will be. I'll definitely live there again some day.

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