CBC celebrates NHL, Jets opening games

CBC and the Winnipeg Jets announce details for an NHL season-opening bash at The Forks.
A special live introduction of the 2011-12 Winnipeg Jets team will be made as part of a celebration at The Forks. (CBC)

CBC, the NHL and the Winnipeg Jets announce details for a season-opening bash at The Forks.

A free, family-friendly event has been planned for Oct. 6 to kick off the NHL season and formally introduce the Winnipeg Jets to fans.

Jets home opener

Fans not attending the Oct. 9 home- and season-opening Jets game at the MTS Centre will be able to watch a free CBC telecast of the inaugural game at The Forks.

This event starts at noon with live entertainment on the Scotiabank Stage followed by the CBC broadcast of the game starting at 3 p.m. CT. Following the game, catch the Jets post-game show on CBC TV in Manitoba.

There will be live musical performances, interactive hockey attractions, a live broadcast of the opening night game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and guest appearances from George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC's flagship late-night program, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and others.

"We couldn't be more excited to launch a new NHL season with CBC's Hockey Night in Canada live from Winnipeg," said Julie Bristow, executive director, studio and unscripted programming for CBC.

"Like Hockey Night in Canada itself, the start of a new season is a rite of passage for Canadians and we look forward to connecting fans across the nation with our coverage of the euphoria and celebration of the return of the NHL to Winnipeg."

CBC's pre-game show, Scotiabank Hockey Tonight, hosted by Ron MacLean, will cover the opening of a new hockey season live on location from Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver, airing nationally at 7:30 p.m. CT.

In Winnipeg, coverage will deliver live musical performances and the introduction of the new Jets team to fans.

The NHL will announce the musical line-up for the festival, named the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off, next week.

In addition, a special live introduction of the 2011-12 Winnipeg Jets team will be made.

CBC, Versus and NHL Network will be on the scene and broadcast portions of the festivities live to fans nationwide in Canada and in parts of the U.S.

"While all hockey fans around the world are excited for the new season, fans in Winnipeg have waited 15 years to have the NHL back," said Brian Jennings, NHL executive vice-president of marketing.

"The 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off will be a true festival and celebration."

"The start of hockey season is a national holiday in Canada," said Dave Perkins, president and CEO for Molson Coors Canada.

"We plan to help the NHL throw the biggest 'welcome home party' hockey fans in Winnipeg have ever seen while also ushering in a new season of NHL excitement."

"We are honoured the NHL has chosen Winnipeg and the Jets to host the season-opening event for the NHL year," said Mark Chipman, chair of True North Sports & Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets.

From 3 p.m. until 9 p.m., NHL fans can take part in the free festivities, including attractions that test hockey skills; prizing and giveaways; food, beverage and merchandise tents; and live musical performances and the live game broadcasts on giant screens.

For fans 18 years or older, the Molson Canadian Hockey House hospitality spectator area will feature live game broadcasts, cold beer and other entertainment.