Friday, February 08, 2013

Hockey Day in Canada 2013

We suspect that when Gary Bettman announced back in January that the season had been saved and hockey was coming back, that there were no more happier people in Canada than the folks that sell advertising for the CBC.

Beyond the obvious that the network's signature program Hockey Night in Canada finally had cause to return to the air (and cash return to the CBC's Accounts receivable department) hockey has become a wee bit of a culture for the network, from Coach's Corner through the panel show before, during and post game, talking hockey at times seems to be the primary focus of the TV network.

The CBC also has carved out a nice niche at the community level, their association with the Kraft Hockeyville passions showcases Canada's affection for the game far beyond the pro level.

Such is the case with the annual Hockey Day in Canada marathon, a project so successful that it has been recreated in the US for NBC's use as well, the American version comes next weekend and will capture much of the same attachment to the game that Canadians have.

The project however did start in Canada though and it is here that the day long celebration truly takes root, in fact, even if the NHL had not come to an agreement with the NHLPA, we have a feeling that Hockey Day in Canada would have moved forward, the day's review uses the NHL game merely as a backdrop of sorts to the larger celebrations in communities large and small.

Had there been no NHL games to call up on, there could very well have been other options to showcase, Junior hockey, the Canadian University game or even the Minor leagues, wherever hockey is played could have been use and perhaps it would have made for the ultimate of fan protests, a subtle gesture to the NHL that while they hold custody of the Stanley Cup, the game itself still belongs to the communities that make the game great.

Fortunately for the Commissioner, he avoids the fickle (middle?) finger of fate that an NHL less, Hockey Day in Canada would have provided for and with it, can soak up the atmosphere and bask in the celebration of the game as it should be celebrated.

Such is the success of the annual celebration, that it even has a corporate sponsor now with Scotiabank taking up the cause of the day and attaching its brand to it.

The CBC's coverage is immense, beyond a full day of NHL action featuring Edmonton at Detroit, Winnipeg at Ottawa, Toronto in Montreal and Vancouver at Calgary, there will be stop overs across the country, with the CBC's Hockey Day presentations coming out of Peterborough this year.

The rather strong winter storm that has hit Ontario and now moves east will certainly provide for challenges for many of the Hockey Day in Canada events, though one imagines a little snow won't make for much in the way of an obstacle for celebrating the game.

To get an idea of the importance of the event to the community that hosts it, a quick scan of the offerings from the Peterborough Examiner provides a glimpse into the excitement in that community over the planned activities.

Some of the things to look forward to on Saturday can be found from the Hockey Day in Canada website.

And for those that really wish to get involved in the spirit of the day, there is a live blog on the website, a collection of photos submitted by Canadians from coast to coast to coast and a twitter feed #hockeyday as well to keep everyone up to speed on how the day is going.

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