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Fans urged to bring signs, wear jerseys


Local organizers are asking everyone to dig out their hockey jerseys and make colourful signs for Saturday’s “Hockey Day in Canada” broadcast that will feature Fort Frances.

“Be a part of hockey history in Fort Frances,” Dave Egan, a board member with the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association, urged Thursday in a hand-written letter.

Opening ceremonies for the local event are slated for 10:30 a.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena.

The ceremony, which precedes the start of the three-hour “Celebrating the Game” broadcast that airs on CBC beginning at 11 a.m. (CST), will see all hockey players taking part in tomorrow’s “jamboree” on the ice at the same time.

It also will feature members of the old Fort Frances Canadians, who this season are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Allan Cup win in 1952.

Local teams of all ages then will play 20-minute games during the “jamboree.”

Egan asked that spectators come prepared for the nationally-televised event.

“[We] encourage local hockey fans who attend to wear a hockey jersey or hockey hat, and bring signs ‘We love Don Cherry’ or ‘Fort Frances, Ont. is the best’,” he wrote in his letter.

“Who knows? It may give us more national exposure.”

“Hockey Day in Canada” is a 15.5-hour national broadcast that explores the cultural significance of hockey to this nation.

The day also will include a special one-hour edition of the pre-game show, Labatt Saturday Night, featuring Don Cherry answering questions from “Hockey Day in Canada” locations across the country, including Fort Frances, at 2 p.m. (CST).

A triple-header featuring the Canadian-based NHL teams will follow, including Ottawa at Toronto (3 p.m.), Montreal at Calgary (6 p.m.), and Vancouver at Edmonton (9 p.m.)

The broadcast will wrap up with scores and highlights at midnight (CST) with Scott Russell and Kelly Hrudey hosting “After Hours.”

The third-annual broadcast had been put in jeopardy due to a three-week strike by CBC technicians back in December.

In fact, local organizers didn’t know for sure that Fort Frances still would be involved in the program until after a tentative deal was ratified by the technicians on Sunday.

Despite having only a week to put the finishing touches on the “jamboree,” organizers are confident they have a great event planned.

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