Hockey is Canada’s national game and like many communities across the nation, Pembroke has a special relationship with the sport. From Pembroke’s first official game in 1893 to its most famous hockey player, Frank Nighbor, hockey is weaved into the fabric of the municipality which brands itself as Hockey Town Canada. This weekend that rich history will be on display as Rogers Hometown Hockey comes to Pembroke.
The three day hockey festival will begin on Saturday, December 4 and continue through Monday, December 6 when Rogers Hometown Hockey hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone will broadcast live from the parking lot of the Pembroke Memorial Centre, the venerable hockey auditorium that is celebrating its 70th anniversary and has been at the centre of some of Pembroke’s greatest hockey moments.
The Hometown Hockey festival will operate on an 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule on Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5 in the PMC parking lot. It will run concurrently with the U-18 Silver Stick Regional hockey tournament and will include many family oriented activities including live music and entertainment, ball hockey, table hockey and an opportunity to meet a former NHL player who will be signing autographs.
The Rogers mascot Hometown Hank will also be on site for the weekend and Harvey’s Restaurant will be offering up 500 free hamburgers on each day of the festival. Some local organizations including the Pembroke Lumber Kings, Ontario Winter Games and the Pembroke Business Improvement Area will also have tents on site where they will be sharing information and selling merchandise.
On Sunday night, the Pembroke Lumber Kings are offering free admission to any minor hockey player who is accompanied by an adult and is wearing their minor hockey jersey. The Kings game with the Brockville Braves will include a special Rogers Hometown Hockey intermission circus show.
During the nation-wide broadcast on Monday night, Ron MacLean and Tara Slone will be sharing stories about Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley that will reflect the region’s culture and its connection to hockey. Two lucky minor hockey players will join the hosts to help choose the game stars from the Colorado Avalanche-Philadelphia Flyers game that will be part of the Sportsnet broadcast.
To kick off the Festival, Algonquin College is hosting a special virtual speaker series on Tuesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. with Ron MacLean. During this free question and answer session, registrants will be able to ask questions of MacLean about his career, hockey stories and Rogers Hometown Hockey. Participants must pre-register to secure the link to attend the session.
To accommodate the space needed for the festival, the PMC parking lots will not be available. Alternative parking locations have been secured including the Algonquin College and Riverwalk Amphitheatre lots. A drop off zone near the lower entrance to the PMC will also be available for Silver Stick players and anyone who is not able to walk the further distance to attend a Silver Stick or Lumber Kings game held during the Festival.
Traffic will also be restricted in the area as a portion of Lake Street will be closed for the Festival. Anyone needing to drop someone off at the PMC can do so by entering from Munro Street and exiting from Christie Street which will be reduced to one-way traffic over the weekend. The general public is asked not to drive into the area near the PMC unless dropping off someone for the Silver Stick tournament or the Pembroke Lumber Kings game.
To access free tickets to the Rogers Hometown Hockey festival, visit Hometownhockey.com. Visits are limited to 3 hours and all participants must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend.
It will be a great weekend of celebrating our national sport in Hockey Town Canada.