Randy Bachman and Fred Turner (CBC)
"Hockey rocks. Every time they score a goal they play one of our songs, Taking Care of Business or You Ain't seen Nothing Yet. Music is AT most of the events. It's great"- Randy Bachman, before his soundcheck this afternoon at the Forks.
It was the biggest welcome home party Winnipeg has ever seen. About 30,000 fans of both hockey and music packed into the historic Forks to celebreate the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off Festival and the return of the Winnipeg Jets. "It was a great crowd and one of the best behaved crowds we've ever had," reported Paul Jordan, Chief Operating Officer at The Forks.
The popular, season-opening hockey and entertainment bash featured live music, interactive games, food and beverage stands and merchandise tents as well as live inserts on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada pre-game show.
Local rockers Inward Eye played their set on the Scotiabank Stage during the afternoon. It was an exciting moment for these three brothers. As David Erickson says, "It means a lot to be a part of the big Face-Off. We're a Winnipeg band, we've been playing in the clubs here and we always followed hockey when we were kids. To be embraced by this whole mania, it feels like we're getting a big hug from everybody. It's a big seal of approval. And we appreciate that a lot."
Also on stage during evening, platinum-selling alt-metal band Three Days Grace and rock legends Bachman & Turner -- with all three sets streamed live at CBCSports.ca. George Stroumboulopoulos tweeted from The Forks and served as emcee for the event.
Up to Speed with Larry Updike broadcast live from the site and throngs of people, young and old, are streaming past the CBC Manitoba Outreach tent.
Winnipegers connected with fans across the country through the live coverage on the big screne of the inaugural game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens on CBC Television.
All in all, it was an insanely wild afternoon and evening of sports and entertainment in the broadest sense.