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In what will be the third time in four months, the national spotlight will be on Chatham-Kent thanks to a large-scale event.
Black Saints New Gold Mark Orleans Elite Collection 22 Ingram Line Mens Pro Municipal council received an update Monday concerning the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour, which will be making a stop in the community the weekend of Dec. 15-16.
On the evening of Dec. 16, there will be a live NHL broadcast, at a festival site still to be determined, between the Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
According to a staff report, there is an average national viewership of 700,000, with an average of 1.8 million tuning in for the Hockey Night in Canada live hit on the Saturday.
Chatham-Kent is coming off of two recent large-scale events: the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo held in Pain Court, followed by the Princess Auto Elite 10 curling event in Chatham.
“I think we’re very fortunate where we live,” said North Kent Coun. Leon Leclair, who also gave a rundown of the IPM during non-agenda business. “We have a lot to offer.”
Council also approved authorization to spend up to $30,000 for costs associated with the delivery and promotion of the Rogers Hometown Hockey event, to be funded from the community human services operating budget.
In 2014, Rogers created the event, which is a touring festival stopping at a different Canadian community each weekend of the NHL regular season.
The event is intended to be a local celebration of the game culminating in a live national broadcast during an NHL game on Sportsnet.
The festival is open to the public and features numerous activities, entertainment, giveaways and appearances by NHL alumni. Average weekend attendance is over 10,000 people.
“It’s completely free with lots of family-focused activities,” said Ian Clark, Chatham-Kent’s business systems and planning analyst, who gave Monday’s presentation.
According to the report, the preference for the festival site is Chatham’s downtown core. The parking lots of Memorial Arena and the John D. Bradley Convention Centre have been identified as backup locations.
“We know that King Street itself is simply too narrow,” Clark said. “However, there are some other downtown configurations that still can be explored.”
Rogers is responsible for the majority of costs associated with the event, including asset delivery and construction for stages and tents, entertainment, festival labour, giveaways, hotel rooms, broadcasting and national marketing.
Road closures will be required from the Thursday until the Monday morning, with Rogers beginning the tear-down process immediately following the Sunday night game.
“Rogers does require significant space to install their many festival assets,” Clark said.
Chatham Coun. Doug Sulman said the municipality has received much positive exposure as of late.
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“This is another great opportunity for us to showcase Chatham-Kent,” he said.
Mayor Randy Hope said the event should also feature the official renaming of the arena in Dresden after the late Ken Houston, who played in the NHL in the 1970s and 1980s.
Clark added that Rogers was interested in incorporating that aspect into the weekend.
For more information on the Rogers Hometown Hockey event, visit http://www.hometownhockey.com

tterfloth@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/DailyNewsTT

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