Minor hockey to discuss role in CBC telecast

Fresh off last week’s announcement that Fort Frances will be one of the sites for CBC’s “Hockey Day in Canada” telecast Jan. 5, the local minor hockey association will be discussing preparation plans.
FFMHA president Lynn Kellar said the board meeting Nov. 12 will include talks to organize a “jamboree” so every age division will have a chance to scrimmage in front of the cameras.
“It’s an extremely positive thing for the community,” Kellar said. “We’re still looking to get more information. Obviously, we’d like to try and get as many kids involved as possible.”
The three-and-a-half hour program will kick off at noon (EST) from coast to coast, featuring stories and panel discussions on the sport’s role in shaping Canadian culture.
Fort Frances will join St. John’s, Nfld., Montreal, P.Q., Kingston, Ont., The Pas, Man., Saskatoon, Sask., Lac la Biche, Alta., Whitehorse, Yk., and Kamloops, B.C. as live remotes the CBC will be visiting for short periods during the telecast.
A Hockey Night in Canada triple-header featuring the six Canadian-based NHL teams will cap off the day. The Ottawa Senators will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens will play the Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks will host the Edmonton Oilers.
HNIC producer Paul McDougall said they wanted to find small towns which haven’t been featured in the first two years. He said Fort Frances was chosen during a brainstorming session last month with CBC personalities, including Bob Babinski, Allen Abel, Chris Cuthbert, Scott Russell, and Ron MacLean.
“Our selection didn’t have to be anything special. The whole show is about grassroots hockey,” said McDougall. “The group discussion was about the different hockey towns, about which were deemed good hockey towns by reputation.”
FFMHA board member Dave Egan, also coach of the Tagg’s ‘AA’ Bantam rep team, was the CBC’s main contact through the decision process.
He said minor hockey was the first to contact the network last year upon the opening of the new “Ice for Kids” Arena—contact he said may have left an impression on them.
“[The board] wrote a letter to Don Cherry about the new rink, just hoping he’d mention it on ‘Coach’s Corner,’” said Egan. “That might have been on file.”
There also were rumblings of a feature story on the 50th anniversary of the Fort Frances Canadians’ Allan Cup-winning season being done for the CBC program.
McDougall would not confirm whether the story, which was pitched by Egan, was in the works, stating plans for any town background pieces are “still in the discussion stage.”