Sarnia was a “must” when selections were being made for this season’s Hometown Hockey Tour, says Sebastian Gatica, senior manager of communications with Sportsnet.
“You guys have history and so many great hockey stories to be told,” Gatica said.
Sarnia will be featured on the national telecast on Sunday, Dec. 20 during the second season of Rogers Hometown Hockey with Ron Maclean and Tara Sloan.
Stories of local hockey celebrities and hockey heroes will be told during the half hour prior to the NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames.
They’ll be broadcast from a mobile studio set up near Front and George streets, where a two-day festival is set for the Saturday and Sunday.
Front Street from Lochiel to Derby Lane will be closed to accommodate a wide range of interactive games and exhibits, a large stage for live music, and the broadcast, Gatica said.
The list of NHL alumni and other community heroes attending the festival will be announced shortly, he said. “It’s all about bringing in the people connected to hockey in your community.”
Sarnia, one of 24 communities to be showcased this season, is the right size and has a strong hockey heritage, said Gatica.
“You’re large enough to get the crowds but not too big either,” he said.
The family-friendly festival will offer something for every hockey buff free-of-charge. There will be video games, skills tests for shooting accuracy and hardest shot, autograph sessions with NHL alumni, a broadcast booth for kids, hot chocolate, popcorn and live bands.
“Obviously, it’s a great event for our community and will give us national television coverage to promote Sarnia and its downtown,” said Ryan Chamney of Sarnia’s Parks and Rec department.
He is working with a local team of hockey reps and organizers who are helping Sportsnet co-ordinate the show.
The Front Street location was chosen specifically because it will show off city hall, the waterfront and rejuvenated downtown, said Chamney.
“We are working with downtown businesses to make them a part of it,” he said. “We hope it will be an economic boost for everyone and give the community more exposure.”
Other communities featured on Rogers Hometown Hockey this year include Winnipeg Man., Summerside PEI., Kitchener Ont., Whitehorse Yukon, and Victoria B.C.