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Fort still in limbo on hockey broadcast

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“Hockey Day in Canada” definitely will air Jan. 5 on CBC but it still isn’t clear Thursday whether Fort Frances would be part of the broadcast.

The broadcast had been threatened by a technicians’ strike at CBC, but a tentative deal reached last Friday afternoon appears to have saved the day—at least for the main program.

“Subject to ratification by CET membership, we will be going ahead with ‘Hockey Day in Canada,’” said Chuck Thompson, CBC’s director of communications.

“What we have to look at now is how much we can do,” he added. “We’ve had a strike for the last few weeks so there’s a lot to be done in a very compressed time.”

“There’s a good chance we will be in Fort Frances if the vote comes through,” he added. “We will make every effort, but there are no guarantees.” Producers said they won’t know exactly which sites will be included in the program until after the agreement is voted on Dec. 30.

“It’s a better situation than it was a week ago,” Dave Egan, a board member with the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association and the main contact with CBC, said Thursday morning.

“Hopefully they’ll ratify it and we’ll be ready to go Saturday, Jan. 5.”

Still, Egan was a little concerned by the fact a final decision hasn’t been made and the broadcast is just 10 days away.

“This makes it last-minute stuff, but sometimes that works out for the better,” he remarked.

“Hockey Day in Canada” is an annual nation-wide program that was to feature Fort Frances as one of its satellite towns this year.

The local minor hockey association announced its participation in the show Oct. 23 after being asked by “Hockey Day in Canada” producers.

The original format was to have Fort Frances as one of nine places the program would bounce back and forth to while showing live shots of afternoon minor hockey games.

The other live remotes were to include St. John’s, Nfld., Montreal, Que., Kingston, Ont., The Pas, Man., Saskatoon, Sask., Lac la Biche, Alta., Whitehorse, Yukon, and Kamloops, B.C.

The third annual show—which coincides with a triple-header featuring all six Canadian-based NHL teams—was to explore the cultural significance of hockey in Canada.

The FFMHA had been putting the final touches on a “jamboree” for the broadcast—where teams from all age levels would play pick-up games at the Ice for Kids Arena here—when news hit that CBC technicians were on strike.

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