Yellowknife will be the host of next year’s Hockey Day in Canada broadcast event, Rogers Sportsnet confirmed on Saturday.
The news was all but certain after councillors approved in principle the city’s participation at a meeting last month.
Formalizing the agreement, Sportsnet said festivities will run from February 5-8, 2020.
The network quoted Yellowknife’s mayor, Rebecca Alty, as saying: “Hockey is in our DNA. With many months of winter, Yellowknifers play hockey indoors in our top-notch arenas, outdoors on the ice of Great Slave Lake, and on many backyard rinks.
“Together with our partners, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, we are thrilled to host the entire nation for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada in February 2020.”
The city was approached in late 2018 about hosting the week-long celebration of hockey, which culminates in a live TV broadcast said to have reached nearly 10 million Canadians this year.
Rogers considered Yellowknife “the ideal location” for 2020 according to a briefing note prepared for city councillors. That briefing document suggested a Western Hockey League game could come to Yellowknife as part of the deal, though this remains to be confirmed.
“More details about the celebration and the broadcast will be announced in the coming months,” said Sportsnet on Saturday.
Voicing a video announcement of Yellowknife’s selection, broadcaster Ron MacLean said: “Very exciting news: Yellowknife has been chosen as our host location.
“It’ll be our third trip to the North after hosting the show in Iqaluit in 2003 and Whitehorse in 2011,” MacLean announced.
“Beautiful Yellowknife lies on the north shore of Great Slave Lake and is home to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. It’s also home to the Yellowknife Minor Hockey Association – the Wolfpack – with over 400 players in their system.”
Hockey Day in Canada comes at an estimated $55,000 cost to the City of Yellowknife, while Rogers Sportsnet and event sponsor Scotiabank each said they would contribute up to $500,000.
The event will bring arts and crafts displays, hockey players, a music concert, coaching clinics, referee clinics, a range of hockey games, and the star attraction – a game featuring NHL alumni – to Yellowknife.
“A 13-hour national broadcast will increase destination awareness and raise market awareness of Yellowknife,” a briefing note about the event told councillors.
The half-day live TV show was billed as “one long Yellowknife commercial” by staff at City Hall.
“This would be a deal at 10 times the price [with] the amount of exposure that we’re going to get for this,” said Councillor Steve Payne in April.
“I think this is one of the best things that will have happened to us in a lot of years, when it comes to national exposure.”