Hometown Hockey comes to Welland
The Rose City will be transformed into Hockey Central when Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcasts live from behind Welland’s civic square the weekend of Nov. 9 and 10.
The event, hosted by Tara Slone and Ron MacLean, will celebrate hockey and its local roots focusing on Welland’s rich history in the sport.
“We’re really excited,” Welland minor hockey second vice-president Chris Siddall said. “I think the biggest stresser is pulling in all those volunteers and making sure we are a success that weekend.
“We’re really excited to be able to showcase everything from our volunteers, to our programming, to our youth.”
Siddall said minor hockey is brimming with ideas to make the weekend memorable.
“There are a lot of new, excited people to do new things and help revive minor hockey in Welland and bring it back to where it was,” he said. “This will help us climb to peak to success again.”
Among the ideas being tossed around are fundraising opportunities for WHMA, a parade of champions featuring both minor hockey and the community, as well as the broadcast focusing on the history of Welland.
“Board members are looking at the broadcast team to showcase some of our programming and highlight some of the history and culture which is very rooted in Welland hockey,” Siddall said. “They are already asking for some opportunities there.
“For us, we’ve already started the ball rolling on many different opportunities preparing for some activations for the special event.”
Welland has produced a number of notable professional players including Dan Paille, Dan Girardi, Nathan Horton, Cal Clutterbuck, Yvon Corriveau, Matt Ellis, Matt Johnson, Paul Bissonnette and Mark and Bob Laforest.
“What’s great about it — and I’ve been coaching for years — but there seems to be based on per capita of Welland, we have produced a number of high-end athletes and we find many of them are returning to give back to the community,” Siddall said. “We’ve had many retired and high-level players come back and coach with us.
“That speaks volumes.
The event will centre around an original six matchup Sunday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Chicago Blackhawks.
As well, the St. Catharines Falcons take on the Welland Junior Canadians in junior B action that night at the Welland Arena.
Welland is the sixth stop on a 25-date schedule this season for Hometown Hockey.
Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Sportsnet.
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