The city of Campbellton, N.B., has been selected as the host community for the 2009 edition of CBC's Hockey Day in Canada, it was announced on Thursday at the NHL Awards ceremony.
The ninth annual celebration of the game will take place in Campbellton on Feb. 21, 2009. The Memorial Regional Civic Centre in Campbellton will serve as the epicentre for nearly 14 hours of coverage on CBC, hosted by Ron MacLean. Don Cherry and other hockey personalities will also be on hand.
Bruce MacIntosh, recently elected mayor, told CBCSports.ca it's a great honour for Campbellton, a bilingual community of about 8,000 located on the northern border of the province in Restigouche County, opposite Pointe-a-la-Croix, Que.
"We'll certainly look forward to having a super party and having everybody involved, minor hockey and all of our kids, who are certainly so very important to our community," said MacIntosh.
Complimenting the coverage of stories documenting the passion for hockey across the nation will be three NHL games featuring Canadian teams facing off against each other. Ottawa will visit Montreal; Vancouver takes a trip east to Toronto; while Calgary and Edmonton continue one of the top rivalries in the league.
Games and other Hockey Day events will be streamed at CBCSports.ca and will also be available on demand.
"We are excited to announce Campbellton as the host for our ninth annual Hockey Day in Canada celebration,” said Joel Darling, director of production for CBC Sports. “Campbellton is a perfect example of where you find hockey’s heart and soul — this community truly embraces our frozen game and exemplifies Canada’s true passion for grassroots hockey.”
The most famous NHL personality to emerge from Campbellton is John Stevens. The former defenceman led the Philadelphia Flyers as coach this season to a whopping 39-point turnaround from the previous season and a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Others from Campbellton who've made it to the NHL over the decades include Bill Dickie, Cory Larose, John Leblanc and Bill Miller.
"John [LeBlanc] is still here, is very much involved in minor hockey ... and was part and parcel of the work that was done here along with a number of others, especially Linda Bain with the city," said MacIntosh.
MacIntosh also credited Peter Maher for being an ambassador for the town. The Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Calgary Flames is from Campbellton.
Campbellton considers itself the gateway to the Atlantic provinces, and it has served as such for players chasing their hockey dreams.
Town native Dave Plante recently finished his third season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the Campbellton Tigers in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League iced a lineup of players from all across Eastern Canada who've progressed to major junior or collegiate hockey.
MacIntosh said the setting should be appropriate for the event, with over "20 feet" of snow falling this past winter. Campbellton co-hosted the 2003 Canada Winter Games with nearby Bathurst and has been the site for Hockey Canada events.
The town joins the geographically diverse list of Hockey Day hosts, which has included Nelson, B.C., Stephenville, Nfld., Shaunavon, Sask., Iqaluit, Nunavut, Windsor, N.S., Red Deer, Alta., Toronto and Winkler, Man., the most recent site.
Hockey Day in Canada has been recognized with three Gemini Awards since its debut.