It’s titled Hockey Day in Canada, but organizers of hockey’s biggest televised party weren’t banking on snow in Victoria.
At Ship Point Wednesday morning, a synthetic rink was supposed to be ready for skating, but the free public session was cancelled due to heavy snow. Volunteers picked up shovels and had the rink cleared in time for an afternoon skate for event sponsors.
“Hockey Day always has its challenges, and this one is probably our most ambitious,” says Rogers Sportsnet executive producer of special events Joel Darling. “We’ll pivot and figure out ways to get through it.”
Due to school closures, a ball hockey tournament for school kids was cancelled.
Recently retired Times Colonist writer Jack Knox is volunteering through the weekend and had a colourful take on Hockey Day festivities cancelled due to Canadian weather conditions.
“What I like is that the organizing committee had this snow flown in at a great expense from the rest of Canada,” he quipped. “I think this is from Saskatoon.”
The snow is not expected to last until Saturday’s all-day broadcast, but site coordinator Koben Meausette says they’re ready for anything.
“We’ve got a Plan A through Z. Right now, we’re on C,” he laughed, shovel in hand.
The day was salvaged when the NHL’s official cup keeper, Phil Pritchard, arrived with the Stanley Cup just after 2 p.m.
Corrie Mann has seen it once before at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but an audience with Lord Stanley always makes a hockey fan giddy.
“Absolutely!” she said, adding it won’t be the last time we see the Cup on the coast in 2024. “Because it’s going to Vancouver this year!” she says.
Unlike the snow, the Stanley Cup is expected to stick around for Hockey Day in Canada. Fans can get their pictures with it at Ship Point starting at 10 a.m.