Stratford was proud to host Hockey Day in Canada 2010!
Please enjoy these great weekend hockey memories…
In the video below, Peter Mansbridge (CBC) gives a tour of his hometown rink:
Ian Denomme (Yahoo! Sports) recaps the day:
For better or worse, Stratford, Ont., is primarily known for its world-famous Shakespeare festival. It brings in tourists, it drives the economy and it tends to overshadow anything else that happens in town.
But on Saturday, the Southwestern Ontario city of 30,000 stepped out of the theatres’ shadow and established itself as one of Canada’s great hockey towns.
For the 10th anniversary, CBC brought Hockey Day in Canada, its annual grassroots celebration of the game, to Stratford. The event and the city did not disappoint.
“[Hosting Hockey Day] has allowed us to express our love for the game,” said Mayor Dan Mathieson.
“It’s allowed us a sense of pride, that [the CBC] chose Stratford to go on the national stage. It’s made us proud of what we have in our community, and everybody is proud of our arena.”
That would be the William Allman Memorial Arena, which just weeks before Saturday’s event celebrated its 85th anniversary. It is alleged to be the oldest operating arena in the world.
By 10 a.m. on Saturday, two hours before the broadcast of the made-for-TV event, the Allman was bustling. The Avon river, which stretches along Lakeside Drive where the arena is located, was already filling with skaters.
A large crowd was on hand to watch as a plaque was unveiled designating the rink as an Ontario heritage site.
The broadcast began with another ode to Stratford’s Shakespearean history: Don Cherry, in full costume including a crown, on stage at the Festival Theatre while Ron MacLean made parallels between Shakespeare and Stratford’s most famous resident Howie Morenz, the Stratford Streak.
By mid-day hundreds of people where on the frozen river for shinny, each group braving the minus-15 C weather and shoveling a patch for their own game.
The heated beer tent in the arena parking lot was also a popular destination, though it would have been great if it was on the ice. The Stanley Cup, along with other artifacts from the Hockey Hall of Fame, was on hand with long lines of people waiting to get in to see it.
And some photos from the Stratford Hockey Club: