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‘Hockey Day in Canada’ a go here

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“Hockey Day in Canada” definitely is coming to Fort Frances this Saturday, a CBC spokeswoman said Monday morning.

“It’s absolutely going ahead in Fort Frances as planned,” said Ruth-Ellen Soles.

Earlier this month, CBC had said the broadcast might not include Fort Frances due to a three-week strike by technicians.

“I think they’ve been talking about it since a tentative agreement was signed,” Soles said. “[But] they couldn’t make a final agreement until the deal was ratified.”

Local minor hockey organizers could not be reached for comment by press time today.

CBC technicians announced yesterday afternoon the tentative deal had been ratified.

The deal, voted on by 1,600 members of the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union, ended a three-week strike that had shut down weekly programs and threatened to cancel “Hockey Day in Canada.”

In a release, the union said the deal was approved by 75 percent of the members.

“We’re delighted the strike is over and able to go ahead with plans for ‘Hockey day in Canada.’ It’s such an important event,” Soles said.

More than 1,000 people are expected to turn out locally for the event, which will be held at the Ice for Kids Arena on Saturday, Soles said.

The local portion of the broadcast was planned to focus on a “jamboree” organized by the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association, with some 300 youngsters of all ages playing pick-up games.

In addition to being part of the nation-wide broadcast, Soles said spectators will have the chance to win some prizes from CBC as well as buy tickets in a raffle for local hockey teams.

Now less than a week away, the third-annual broadcast will start at 3 p.m. (CST), switching between nine communities across the country while also covering a triple-header featuring all six Canadian-based NHL teams.

“We have a very dedicated group of people in our sports department who are working very very hard to make this happen,” Soles said.

The FFMHA had been putting the final touches on a “jamboree” for the broadcast when they received word that CBC technicians were on strike.

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