One day shy of three years from when the last Nickel Days ended, the 2022 edition began at the president’s reception June 22, where Tom Flett and Wes Haney were named honorary driller and honorary King Miner, respectively.
Flett began working underground in 1988 and stayed there for 13 years before eventually finishing his career with Inco and then Vale as a Red Seal electrician.
Haney first worked at a mine in Flin Flon as a summer student, abandoned his plans to go back to school to keep working there and then moved to Thompson from Leaf Rapids when he was out of work due to a labour dispute.
“It’s a real honour to have them both here today,” said Warren Luky, president of United Steelworkers Local 6166, which represents hourly workers at Vale Manitoba Operations.
The first Nickel Days in three years after the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to a long uninterrupted run is also the first for Vale Manitoba Operations general manager Gary Annett.
“I’m very excited to be part of it,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the National King Miner Contest. It is the elite contest in mining, for sure. Let’s have a great time and make sure that we make it a Nickel Days to remember as the first one in three years.”
Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook and Nickel Days president Wendell Fitzpatrick emphasized the role teamwork plays in making Nickel Days happen.
“It’s a lot of work by the Nickel Days committee,” said the mayor. “We appreciate all that you do.”
Fitzpatrick says the business community plays a vital role in the summer fair.
“Without the sponsorship of Nickel Days, we couldn’t put the show on,” he said.
As is tradition, Nickel Days was formally declared open when Fitzpatrick, Annett and Luky toasted with the secret recipe boot cocktail.