Hometown Hockey comes ‘full circle’ with stops in London, Chatham-Kent – The London Free Press

It’s lights, camera, hockey for London and Chatham-Kent.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour announced which 25 communities across Canada will host the free family friendly hockey celebration for the 2018-2019 NHL season on Tuesday. Both London and Chatham-Kent will be hosting the event before the end of the year.

London hosted the first episode of Hometown Hockey back in 2014. The city will welcome back the event on October 20 and 21 to celebrate the 100th episode and to watch Calgary Flames take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Chatham-Kent will host the hockey-filled festival on December 15 and 16 when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Winnipeg Jets.

Hometown Hockey in Southwestern Ontario:

Where: London

When: Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21

Broadcast Lineup: Calgary Flames vs. New York Rangers at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Chatham-Kent

When: Saturday December 15 and Sunday December 16

Broadcast Line-up: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Winnipeg Jets at 6:30 p.m.

“Hometown Hockey was a blast last time it was here,” said London deputy mayor Paul Hubert. “We are looking forward to having it back in London.”

Discussions are underway for what the programming will look like for the 100th episode, said Zanth Jarvis of Tourism London. He said the event would most likely be held in the same location as in 2014, using the parking lots of Budweiser Gardens, Covent Garden Market and Talbot Street.

“It’s nice to have it come back full circle,” Jarvis said. “We have such a strong hockey community.”

The first episode of Hometown Hockey was held over Thanksgiving weekend, he said. With this year’s event two weeks after the holiday, Jarvis said he is expecting a lot more people to attend.

“People are familiar with the event now and they are looking forward to it every year,” he said.

This is the first time Chatham-Kent will be hosting the Hometown Hockey tour.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Mayor Randy Hope. “This is something the community loves.”

Hope said Chatham-Kent is a very big hockey community.

“We’ve got a lot of arenas. Hockey is in our blood here,” he said.

Planning is underway to ensure the event tells stories and showcases personalities unique to the community, said Ian Clark, municipal lead of the Hometown Hockey organizing committee.

“It’s absolutely wonderful for the community,” he said. “We’re hoping this can be a great celebration.”

Downtown Chatham will likely host the event, but the site is still to be determined, Clark said. He said if the weather co-operates, they are expecting about 5,000 people to attend each day of the event.

“We’re hoping to attract people from all corners of the municipality,” Clark said.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will visit 25 communities across Canada for a weekend of free outdoor hockey festivities for all ages. The weekend caps off with an outdoor viewing party of an NHL broadcast on Sunday, with Ron MacLean and Tara Stone hosting a live pre-game, intermission and post-game show on site using the Sportsnet Mobile Studio.

The show spotlights local culture, hockey history and unique stories of each hometown. The fifth season of the tour will kick off in Kitchener during the city’s 50th Oktoberfest on October 5-7.

Other Ontario stops on this season’s tour include Parry Sound, Burlington, Nepean, Aurora, Mississauga and Collingwood.