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Hockey Day in Canada celebrates its 25th anniversary in Alberta

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Concert, hockey games, fan fest and live broadcast when Canmore hosts Canada Day in Canada next year

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada comes to the Rocky Mountains when Canmore, Alberta, hosts the hockey festival on Saturday, January 18, 2025.

Canadian broadcaster Ron MacLean, who will host the annual event's live broadcast from Canmore, announced the 25th anniversary this week, which will feature special programming, fan events such as a concert, clinics for NHL alumni, local games and stories from across the country.

“We want to produce the best Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada in 25 years,” said Andrew Milne, co-chair of the Canmore Local Organizing Committee.

“Over the next month or so, we'll be able to announce a few different things related to the event and I hope people will be as excited as we are.”

The Sportsnet broadcast will be confirmed later in the day with analysts, special guests and tours of the mountain community. All seven Canadian NHL teams are in action that evening.

There will also be several hockey games played locally throughout the week and during the Sportsnet broadcast, highlighting NHL alumni, graduates, university teams and the hometown Junior A club, the Canmore Eagles.

“The plan is to have a side game throughout the game [Jan. 18]then a [university] “That Saturday afternoon there was a women’s game and an Eagles game in the evening,” said Milne, the head coach and general manager of the Junior A club.

Elsewhere, the local organizing committee is holding talks about hiring a musician for the opening concert as well as former NHL players as part of the fan celebrations.

Most activities are currently taking place at the Canmore Recreation Centre and the Canmore Golf and Curling Clubs, but consideration is being given to building an outdoor ice rink in other neighbourhoods such as Cougar Creek and Larch.

How Canmore brought Hockey Day to Canada

Organizers of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada contacted the Canmore Eagles last December about the possibility of hosting the event. Milne said the franchise jumped at the opportunity and partnered with the City of Canmore, the Canmore Minor Hockey Association and Tourism Canmore Kananaskis to form an organizing committee.

To get a feel for the scale of the event, Milne traveled to Victoria, BC, for the 2024 Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada last January.

Sportsnet staff have also visited the city in recent months, including NHL Special Events executive producer Joel Darling, who attended an Eagles playoff game to see for himself the packed Alex Kaleta Arena at Canmore Recreation Centre.

“Canmore is a premier destination and vibrant community known for its stunning scenery and outdoor activities, and promises to deliver a hockey celebration like no other with a picturesque winter backdrop for our milestone event and national broadcast,” Darling said in a press release.

This is the first time Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada has been held in Alberta since 2014, when it was held in Lloydminster, and only the third time it has been held in the province since 2000.

The mountain town has a rich history in winter sports. Canmore-born former NHL player Alex Kaleta is credited with coining the phrase “hat trick,” which is used whenever a player scores three goals.

In the late 1990s, Hollywood came to Canmore to make the underdog hockey movie Secret, Alaskawith Russell Crowe and Burt Reynolds.

Some recent players who have come from Canmore and are playing in the NHL include Jacob Bernard-Docker of the Ottawa Senators and Luke Philp of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The festival is expected to take place over four days in Canmore, which has been a popular destination for Nordic athletes and outdoor recreation enthusiasts since the 1988 Olympic Games. With Nordic World Cup events held at the Canmore Nordic Centre in recent years and the high number of elite athletes living in the town, Canmore is undoubtedly one of Canada's sporting meccas.

“Hosting this event aligns perfectly with our mission to provide amazing adventures that feed your soul,” said Rachel Ludwig, CEO of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, in a press release. “This celebration of our nation's favorite sport will not only bring excitement and vibrancy to our community, but will also have a significant economic impact.”