Hometown Hockey weekend nears

Rogers Hometown Hockey spotlight is on Vernon Saturday and Sunday at Spirit Square at city hall

Hometown Hockey weekend nears

The countdown to Rogers Hometown Hockey in Vernon is underway.

Things begin tonight as fans can get virtual photos with their favourite players and Sportsnet personalities at Kal Tire Place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., as well as Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

Hometown Hockey host Tara Slone – fresh from learning to ski at Silver Star Mountain Resort alongside Sportsnet Toronto Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun – will drop the ceremonial puck before Saturday’s Vernon Vipers’ game versus the Powell River Kings at 6 p.m. at Kal Tire Place. Fans can also get virtual photos taken Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Crews have arrived and will begin constructing the Hometown Hockey set at Vernon City Hall’s Spirit Square Thursday. This is where the majority of the Hometown Hockey action will take place.

On Friday, students from Ellison Elementary and Okanagan Landing School will skate on the outdoor rink and will be entertained by PAZ the Hockey Circus Show in the Vernon Recreation Complex auditorium. There will also be a question-and-answer period with NHL alumni.

The Hometown Hockey festival gets busy on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. with live music on the main stage from the Shawn Lightfoot Band, autograph sessions with former Vancouver Canucks greats Kirk McLean and Russ Courtnall and a Scotiabank Legacy Cheque presentation of $15,000 at 12:45 p.m.

Things run Sunday at Spirit Square from 12:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Sportsnet hockey broadcast Sunday begins at 4 p.m. with Slone and Ron MacLean hosting. The game features the Canucks hosting the Chicago Blackhawks.

During the game, the story of Vernon’s Larry Kwong – the first Asian Canadian to play in the NHL in 1948 with the New York Rangers – will be featured.

During the weekend, activities at Spirit Square will include Rogers Fan Hub, Rogers NHL Viewing Room, Scotiabank Community Locker Room, The Dodge Family Zone, McDonald’s Ball Hockey Rink and Dr. Oetker Giuseppe Pizzeria.

All activities are open free of charge to the public.

Vernon NHL alumni including Brent Gilchrist, Jerred Smithson, Ed Johnstone and Dean McAmmond are also expected to be part of the weekend festivities.

The City of Vernon has announced to residents, businesses and drivers that 30th Street between 32nd Avenue and 35th Avenue will be closed to all traffic from 6 a.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Monday as part of the Rogers Hometown Hockey celebrations.

Parking will be limited downtown during the duration of the festival so drivers are encouraged to park in the downtown parkade on 31st Avenue.

More information about the Rogers Hometown Hockey event can be found here.