City of Nanaimo Coun. Bill Bestwick

Hometown Hockey festival will transform Nanaimo park

NANAIMO – The city held a press conference Wednesday to provide an update on plans for Rogers Hometown Hockey’s visit Feb. 26.

Winter is nearly here and that means that Hometown Hockey isn’t far off.

The City of Nanaimo held a press conference Wednesday at Maffeo Sutton Park to provide an update on plans for Rogers Hometown Hockey’s visit at the end of February.

The TV program, hosted by Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, will be broadcasted live from the park on Feb. 26.

“It might be one of the most enduring events for an entire community to embrace, that is cross-country and it’s Canadiana,” said Coun. Bill Bestwick, chairman of the city’s Hometown Hockey organizing committee. “To have this opportunity in February is a wonderful event for this city.”

An outdoor ice rink will open Feb. 18 in a corner of Maffeo Sutton Park’s Spirit Square, in front of the Lions Pavilion. Various ice hockey and ball hockey games around the city will be linked with Hometown Hockey and the event will culminate with a two-day festival at the park Feb. 25-26. At the end of the broadcast, there will be a waterfront fireworks display. The city has budgeted $123,000 to host the event, plus $200,000 to set up the outdoor rink for nine days.

Richard Harding, the city’s parks and recreation director, said Maffeo Sutton Park will be transformed for the events.

Rogers Hometown Hockey is bringing in a number of performances, different [activities] for people to do, as well as we’re going to add a couple of things ourselves…” Harding said. “This is going to be a fun event for the whole region, really, for those who want to come down. There’ll be a number of activities for those who love hockey, for those who just like hockey; there’s going to be a number of community events for everybody to enjoy.”

According to the city, there are 452 rooms booked at the Coast Bastion Hotel in the week leading up to and including the weekend of Hometown Hockey, and Bestwick said there are other tourism benefits.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to let the balance of the country know how beautiful it is here, what our history is all about. This event, to me, is about our history, this is about our legacy, this is about our culture and this is about our attitude.”

The live Sportsnet broadcast will be from 4-4:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. The outdoor rink will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. from Feb. 18-26 and there will be times set aside for public skating, pro-D day programming and private rentals.

The rink’s price tag includes a $55,000 ice mat that the municipality will keep for future re-use. While Hometown Hockey is a one-time thing, Bestwick envisions that outdoor skating will continue and expand.

“I hope that the legacy pieces will make this a winter wonderland event for many, many more decades to come,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

280-unit development in Lantzville will proceed to public hearing

Mayor says Clark/Medd properties affect municipality’s future

Nanaimo’s Bastion Street Bridge to close for repairs

Bridge linking downtown Nanaimo to Old City Quarter to close for 18 days to fix deck joints

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

City of Nanaimo and RDN re-opening playgrounds

Playgrounds will be back open on Wednesday, June 3, with health guidelines in effect

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read