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Sudbury’s popularity grows as superfans of TV show Shoresy spread the word

The Blueberry Crew is getting ready to assemble in Sudbury once again.

Sudburian Michele Bobyn says that’s the name she and some superfans of the television series Letterkenny and Shoresy have adopted.

Letterkenny and its sequel Shoresy are Canadian sitcoms created by Jared Keeso, developed and written primarily by Keeso and Jacob Tierney, directed by Tierney, and starring Keeso.

They are filmed in Sudbury.

Bobyn says she’s attracted by the  clever writing and rapid-fire comedic delivery, as well as the fact that hockey is featured and the shows are set in Sudbury.

While Letterkenny airs its final season on Crave next month, season three of Shoresy is starting to film in Sudbury this week.

Crews are putting up lights and preparing the downtown arena for fictional hockey players as the Sudbury Wolves practice in the background

The series portrays the fictional Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs, a team in the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (NOSHO) whose owner has threatened to disband the team.

That’s when Shoresy, a minor character in Letterkenny, steps up to becomes the titular character in the new series and captain of the Bulldogs who promises the owners that the team “will never lose again.”

The shows have gained a cult following that is expanding, in part due to a podcast started in southern Ontario called The Produce Stand which brings fans from around the world together online for deep discussions and behind the scenes info on the two series, Bobyn among them.

Shoresy location manager Craig Rose isn’t surprised by the fascination some people have for Sudbury.

He has seen various locations, like the farmhouse, where scenes from Letterkenny were shot, and restaurants around the city where hockey players from Shoresy go to unwind, become destinations for tourists.

A man with short gray hair, wearing a ball cap and a puffy down jacket and vest, stands in the hallway of the Sudbury arena.
Craig Rose is the location manager for Shoresy which starts filming at the Sudbury Arena this week. (Kate Rutherford (CBC))

“I know that for a fact that certain locations get a lot of visitors and people taking pictures sometimes a little bit to the chagrin of the owners,” said Rose. “And I think Shoresey as well with certain bars and restaurants in Sudbury really has been getting good response from being in the show”

Rose moved to Sudbury from Toronto about ten years ago to work as a location manager in the film industry, scouting locations for the detective series Cardinal,and now Letterkenny and Shoresy.

Superfan Michele Bobyn also moved to Sudbury about ten years ago to become a master lecturer in forensic science at Laurentian University.

She got involved with other superfans through the podcast, forming connections with people across North America.

She said when travel restrictions due to Covid eased last year, some of those fans decided to visit the city.

Bobyn met up with them at a Sudbury Wolves game where a couple of actors from the series were appearing for charity.

She says she became their local host and showed them around town, making friends with people as far away as San Francisco, Colorado and Maine.

The Blueberry Crew is born

“They loved it,” Bobyn says of the American fans. “They loved it. They all say they want to move here. A few of them have come back up with their families to come and visit.”

Bobyn thinks they came upon Letterkenny and Shoresy because they were already fans of other Canadian programs such as Corner Gas.

Word got out about the enthusiasm of the podcasters and visiting fans, and Bobyn says the producers of Shoresy, as thanks for promoting the series, put together a grand tour for them.

“We spent a three day weekend here as guests of the TV show essentially, and we got again the Grand Tour, Sudbury, all the top sites,” said Bobyn. “And we met the cast and crew and saw a little bit of how the magic is made behind the scenes. Then we were extras on the show for a couple of days while they shot some of the last moments of the show at the Sudbury Arena.”

Their enthusiasm has just snowballed since then, says Bobyn.

She notes new fans from Australia and Scotland have joined the podcast discussion.

This year possibly three superfans from the United States are making arrangements to come up for the Sudbury Wolves game that features Shoresy raising money for charity.

Three men sit in a hockey locker room.
Jordan Nolan (centre) and Brandon Nolan (right) as Jim #3 and Jim #2 of the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs in Shoresy. (Bell Media)

It’s a smaller group, she says because the charity game takes place on November 24th which is American Thanksgiving and some couldn’t get away.

Bobyn calls them the Blueberry Crew Part Deux.

But it’s not all fun and games.

A book is even in the works.

Bobyn met some other academics through the podcast and they’re taking a more serious look at aspects of the television series

“So it’s just a way to to do a kind of a deep dive into the show, but not so much from the fandom perspective,” says Bobyn, “But more from the social aspect and popular culture effects.”

They even have a publisher lined up, says Bobyn.

She chuckles.

“That’ll be a different line on my CV,” she says.

Season three of Shoresy is expected to film for about three weeks in Sudbury.

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