NHL

Hockey Day in Canada coming to P.E.I.

For the first time in the 12-year history of the CBC event celebrating Canada's game, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will be held in P.E.I. this winter, with host Ron MacLean and Don Cherry broadcasting live from the country's smallest province on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

Hockey Day is coming to Prince Edward Island.

For the first time in the 12-year history of the CBC event celebrating Canada's favourite pasttime, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will be held in P.E.I. this winter, with host Ron MacLean and Don Cherry broadcasting live from the country's smallest province on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

"We're thrilled to be bringing this celebration to the province of Prince Edward Island," said Joel Darling, director of production for CBC Sports. "Hockey is a universally Canadian passion, shared equally among players and fans from our biggest cities to the tiniest communities, so we think it's especially appropriate to be taking Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada to the cradle of Confederation, where the entire province can share in the experience."

P.E.I. boasts a rich hockey history, having produced professional players Brad Richards, Rick Vaive, Allan MacAdam, Bob Whitlock, Charlie Cahill, Clarence J. (Windy) Steele, Forbes Kennedy, Errol Thompson and William Stewart (Billy) MacMillan, to name a few.

The province's 27 hockey rinks are the most per capita in Canada, and P.E.I. counts almost 7,000 registered players (out of a population of about 142,000) across 20 minor hockey associations and various junior and senior leagues. An estimated 14 per cent of children in the province play hockey, compared with the national average of about nine per cent.

"Hockey here is sort of a religion to people," said Rob Newson, Hockey PEI's executive director and the head of the local organizing committee for Hockey Day 2012. "It's a passion here. People take it very seriously."

Newson said that planning on various festivities across the province will begin in earnest now that P.E.I. has officially been awarded the event. Some of the ideas include a minor hockey tournament, clinics, school visits, and perhaps even an Olympic torch-style relay with the Stanley Cup.

"Traditionally, this event has been [held] in one city," Newson said. "We're spinning it as provincewide in scope, and we're trying to reach out as much as possible into the different smaller communities.

"That'll be the unique thing here — that it's not about one city, but the whole province."  

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada's 12th annual broadcast will mark the continuation of an acclaimed Canadian hockey tradition. Winner of three Gemini Awards, it was recognized for Best Sports Program (2004) and Best Host in a Sports Program (Ron MacLean in 2004 and 2006).

Previous host locations include Whitehorse (2011); Stratford, Ont. (2010); Campbellton, N.B. (2009); Winkler, Man. (2008); Nelson, B.C. (2007); Stephenville, N.L. (2006); Shaunavon, Sask. (2004); Iqaluit (2003); Windsor, N.S. (2002); Red Deer, Alta. (2001); and Toronto (2000).

The day-long hockey celebration will once again feature all six Canadian-based NHL teams in action across the country. Match-ups and game times will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the live broadcast on CBC Television, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada will also be streamed live and on-demand at CBCSports.ca.