The summer of wildfires in the Cariboo received a cool reprieve Wednesday with a surprise announcement.
Williams Lake has been selected as a stop for the popular Rogers Hometown Hockey tour, an honour Mayor Walt Cobb said could not have come at a better time.
“We are thrilled that Rogers Hometown Hockey has reached out to our community with an unexpected offer to bring their tour to Williams Lake” Cobb said. “The team at Rogers Hometown Hockey wanted to do what they could to help our community recover from the wildfires this summer, and reached out to us to see if we would be up for hosting this festival.”
As one of 24 communities picked for the 2017-2018 seasons, the tour will be an opportunity for Williams Lake to showcase through a national broadcast the generous hearts and strong community spirit that has been apparent this summer, Cobb said.
“It is something that we feel will be a great boost to us as we work to overcome the challenges that we have been through.”
Details are still being worked out, but the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour is confirmed to be in Williams Lake on Jan. 6 and 7, 2018 with a free family-friendly hockey festival full of activities, alumni appearances, giveaways and more.
On Sunday afternoon of the festival there will be an outdoor viewing party of the live broadcast of the NHL Vancouver versus Montreal game, beginning at 4 p.m. local time on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW with hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone.
McLean said from having the honour of being on RMC campus over Remembrance Day weekend to shining a light on the recovery efforts in Williams Lake come January, Rogers Hometown Hockey connects Canadians all across the country.
“Every Sunday, we pull out the hockey road map and discover a part of Canada and ourselves,” he added.
Slone said it is amazing to her that they are on season four of Rogers Hometown Hockey and there are still so many wonderful places in the country the tour has left to discover.
“We have been welcomed so graciously by Canadians from coast-to-coast and I’m looking forward to feeling that warmth, hospitality and excitement from this year’s group of hometowns,” Slone said.
The hockey festival is going to be a great way for community groups to come together to capitalize on all the different ways to celebrate Williams Lake and the Cariboo region, the people, landscapes, and stories that make the area unique and special, Cobb said.
“In the coming weeks we will be communicating plans to establish a planning committee that will give groups like Williams Lake Minor Hockey, the Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association, First Nation communities and other non-profits the opportunity to be a part of this festival and showcase everything that makes us great.”
Rogers Hometown Hockey™ Tour is presented by Scotiabank and Dodge and is free of charge.
The tour will make its first stop in Niagara Falls, ON on Oct. 7 and 8 at Niagara Parks’ Queen Victoria Park.
Leading into the start of the season, fans can get a taste of what to expect by tuning in to The Best of Rogers Hometown Hockey.
The show’s four 30-minute episodes, compile stories from the first three seasons of the tour, with a sneak peek into how the show comes to life.
Airing on Sportsnet on Thursdays, with multiple repeat broadcasts throughout the weekend, the first episode debuts Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
All season long, fans can tune in to the Sunday night broadcast on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW for a chance to win weekly prizes through the Rogers Hometown Hockey Contest.
Join the conversation by using each week’s unique hashtag to automatically be entered for a chance to win a number of prizes, including a trip to the 2018 Stanley Cup® Playoffs.
The contest begins during the first week’s broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 8 in Niagara Falls and will run right through to the final Rogers Hometown Hockey of the season on Sunday, April 1 from Montreal.