Whitehorse to host Hockey Day in Canada

For one special day next February, Whitehorse will be at the centre of the hockey universe.

For one special day next February, Whitehorse will be at the centre of the hockey universe.

Last week, the CBC announced Yukon’s capital will host the network’s annual Hockey Day in Canada, a special segment of its hugely popular Hockey Night in Canada program that will include games featuring all six of Canada’s NHL teams over a 13.5 hour broadcast and will include footage of related events in Whitehorse.

“We try to visit various parts of the country each year and it has been a while since we had gone to the North,” said Mike Dodson, executive producer of Hockey Night in Canada in an interview with the News. “So we looked at a few communities and decided, after meeting with the mayor, some council and seeing the facilities, Whitehorse would be a good fit.”

Hoping to feature another northern community as it did in 2003 when Iqaluit, Nunavut, hosted the event, the final decision came down between Whitehorse and Yellowknife, NWT.

“I think it all came down to how the cities represented themselves – what their vision of Hockey Day in Canada was,” said Whitehorse councillor Ranj Pillai, who made a trip to Stratford, Ontario, in January to vie for Whitehorse’s participation. “We have an amazing capacity within our volunteer community. That gives CBC a lot of confidence with working with Whitehorse over the next year.

“And you can’t get away from this is a beautiful city to live in. That plays a role – it’s television, so they want to have nice shots. That’s something we can definitely provide.

“They touched on the Canada Games Centre, they were definitely impressed by that.”

Still in the earliest stages of planning, local groups overseeing the event on Whitehorse’s end, such as the city and Sport Yukon, still need to form a committee to make the important decisions. However, Dodson was able to share some common features of Hockey Day in hosting communities.

“Generally each year we bring a number of Hockey Night in Canada commentators,” said Dodson, listing Ron MacLean and hockey icon Don Cherry. “While we are there, leading up to the Saturday, we try to work with the city to put together a number of events.

“Generally we run a number of clinics and bring hockey alumni to conduct those clinics. There’s usually some form of banquet that the Stanley Cup shows up at.

“I’m sure there’ll be a full week of events.”

Contrary to rumours swirling after the release of the city’s success in securing hosting privileges, Whitehorse did not win CBC’s Hockey Town in Canada. That honour was given to Pembroke, Ontario, which will receive $100,000 for renovations to a rink and will host a NHL exhibition game as part of their prize.

Nonetheless, Pillai feels the spotlight put on Whitehorse for much of the next hockey season will give the city exceptional exposure.

“We may not receive $100,000, but the amount of exposure the Yukon will get over the next year is quite impressive,” said Pillai. “Every Saturday night that Hockey Night in Canada is on from the start of the season until February, they will be highlighting the fact that Whitehorse is hosting Hockey Day in Canada.”

Whitehorse’s campaign to host the event began in January when Pillai traveled to Stratford, last year’s host city, to vie for the honour. Pillai’s trip east was followed by a visit to Whitehorse by both Dodson and Hockey Night in Canada’s director of production Joel Darling.

“It gave me a chance to see how the event is executed and an opportunity to meet CBC and pitch the idea of Whitehorse hosting next year’s event,” said Pillai. “We came back and had CBC fly to Whitehorse and Yellowknife, the two potential cities for 2011.

“While they were here a core of people from the city of Whitehorse and Sport Yukon, who was also one of the lead organizations on this bid, Yukon Hockey Association, Yukon Convention Bureau, representatives of Northwestel – that whole group did a presentation to CBC.”

No stranger to hosing big events, Whitehorse hosted the Canada Summer Games in 2007 and the ISF Junior Men’s World Fastpitch Championship in 2008. In 2012, it will host its sixth Arctic Winter Games and its first ISF XIII Women’s World Fastpitch Championship the same year.

Contact Tom Patrick at


Just Posted

Yukon government puts $530k towards Gladue report pilot project

Three-year pilot project will train people to write Gladue reports for Indigenous offenders

Greyhound cleared to end routes in Yukon, northern B.C.

Company says ridership on nine routes has dropped 30 per cent in last five years

Yukon Quest wraps up with awards banquet

Commando and Dutch win Golden Harness Award, juicy steaks

Tagish dog owner says she surrendered, euthanized 10 dogs

Animal health unit, however, says only 8 dogs have been surrendered in 2018

No Resource Gateway construction work this season, YG says

‘We’re not as advanced as we would have liked to have been but we still are advancing’

Former Whitehorse RCMP officer gets conditional discharge for sexual assault

Judge Richard Scheider sided with the defence’s argument that conditional discharge was appropriate

Tagish dog rescue owner asks court to change dog surrender order

Shelley Cuthbert is asking for changes to an order requiring her to surrender 10 dogs per month

Dangerous offender hearing underway for former Yukon man who sexually abused 13 girls

The man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls over seven years in the Yukon, B.C. and Ontario

Team Yukon has strong showing at Whistler Super Youth and Timber Tour

‘Anwyn absolutely destroyed the competition’

Yukon skier turns in personal best at Junior World Championships

‘It was another great international racing experience’

Most Canadians believe journalism plays critical role in democracy: poll

Survey suggests 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays ‘important’ part

Yukon child care deal to fund grandparents, courses for caregivers

‘How this is completely going to look, we’re still working on’

Most Read