Brady Stark | Team Member
On March 21 and 22, the Rogers Hometown Hockey tour invaded Prince George with festivities and guest appearances for the whole family. Originally starting in London, Ontario, in October, Ron MacLean and company have been travelling around Canada to bring hockey cheer to many towns and cities that have a strong connection to the game. Upon arriving in Prince George, it was immediately apparent that Prince George’s already feverish hockey environment was going to get much crazier. Starting at noon on the 21, fans were treated to a variety of activities and promotions that would keep them entertained.
Rogers GameCenter Trailer
Rogers had a GameCenter Live trailer that was used to promote their NHL app. The very cool part about this essential sales pitch was the motion censored controller that fans could use in order to select the camera angle that they wanted to watch their hockey game in.
Hardest Shot and Accuracy Shooting
Next, fans could test their hockey metal in a couple of skill activities. The accuracy shooting was the most deceiving hockey skill that one could explore due to the fact that fans had to try and hit characters like Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar. Right beside the McDonald’s accuracy test was the hardest shot competition. The hardest shot was not really indicative of someone’s actual speed of their regular shot. Instead, the challenge was to try and hit the net at a respectable speed while still trying to stay on their feet. There were many a fan who ended on the ground either because they missed the puck completely, or the tried to overexert themselves and almost ended up in the net themselves.
Sportsnet: Be a Sportscaster
In this tent, the player was given a short script to memorize about a classic NHL moment. They were then given one opportunity to practise, and then were put in front of a green screen with a recording of Evanka Osmak.
Like most people that tried this craft, I got caught up watching Steve Yzerman snipe a slap shot passed Grant Fuhr of St. Louis in the 1996 Western Conference Finals and completely forgot my lines. Despite the less than stellar performance, there was never a fan that came out of the sportscasting trailer that didn’t have a smile from ear to ear.
Ron MacLean & Co.
The main event of the second day was the live broadcast from Prince George that was seen from coast to coast on Sportsnet during the Vancouver Canucks vs. Arizona Coyotes game. Ron MacLean, Kirk McLean, and Geoff Courtnall made their way into the crowd of cheering fans to describe how the 1994 Canucks fueled a hockey province and paved a path for the new generation of Canucks to make their city proud. On multiple occasions, Ron MacLean made sure that there was fan participation as he would ask questions to some people and get a roaring cheers from others.
One of the most touching moments throughout the telecast was a feature on Prince George Cougar forward Jansen Harkins and his family. Sportsnet made sure that NHL teams and NHL fans across the nation knew the extraordinary circumstances that lead the Harkins family to join the Cougars. Rather than focusing on superstar forward Jansen, Rogers focused on his brother Nicolas who was unable to play due to a medical condition. Instead, he has followed a path from assistant equipment manager to assistant coach for the Cougars.
Rogers Hometown Hockey certainly took their time to find the pulse of Prince George and celebrate it in a very unique way.