The good ole hockey game

Hockey. Is there anything more Canadian? Some might say maple syrup, or poutine, but on average most would say that there is nothing more Canadian than the game of hockey.

Tomorrow morning we go on sale for the BIGGEST hockey game in Fort McMurray history. In fact, it will be the first junior hockey game played outdoors, ever! This is going to be the quintessential Canadian experience.

The farm where my father grew up, the piece of Saskatchewan farm land that was homesteaded by my great great grandfather in the late 1890's and the five generations to follow, has an old lean-to shed attached to what we called the Blacksmith Shop. Hanging up on an old spike were a pair of skates, blades actually, with straps that would wrap around your boots. Covered in spider webs and decades of dust and neglect, they hearkened back to an earlier time when my dad played hockey on the frozen slough, using cow pies for pucks. Battered by the south wind, nose dripping and cold, the kids would play for hours under the light of the winter moon. Pond hockey, the way it was meant to be played.

I'm listening to David Francey's "Skating Rink", thinking ahead to November 26th when this four-time Juno Award winner will set the tone for the Northern Classic in Fort McMurray. It's going to be an incredible night, with great Junior B hockey, outstanding music (Mike Plume and The Trews are also playing), and the biggest gathering of junior hockey fans ever to gather in Alberta.

As the Fort McMurray Oil Barons make their grand entrance on this frozen sheet of ice wedged between bleachers filled with 5,000 screaming fans, winter's chill will be forgotten and the good ole hockey game will take centre stage.

Tickets for this historical event go on sale tomorrow morning (October 15) for only $10 each. Imagine that: the FIRST outdoor junior game in history, the LARGEST crowd for a junior game in Alberta, David FRANCEY, Mike PLUME and The TREWS-the band that will sing O' Canada the next day at the Grey Cup. Can it get any better than that? Actually it can! Clark Robertson, in the guise of Don Cherry, and a featured contestant next week on the CBC's Dragon's Den, will be adding an amazing dose of fun, while TSN's Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole will add first-class colour commentary. Whew! That's a pile of entertainment value for $10.

Starting at exactly 8 am, tickets will begin going on sale at MacDonald Island Park. DO NOT WAIT to buy yours as we fully expect to SELL OUT within days.


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