Forget the NHL. For a second year, the NCC has teamed up with the Ottawa Senators, the Ottawa District Minor Hockey Association and Outaouais Hockey to present Senators Hockey Day in the Capital today.
When sirens sound off, NCC conservation officers will drive between the NAC and Dow's Lake, to signal the start of the hour-long shinny games between 115 novice to pee-wee teams that will be playing along the Rideau Canal.
"It's certainly a great event to watch, just to see all these rinks lined one-by-one from one end to the other. It is spectacular," said NCC spokeswoman Marie-Eve Letourneau.
EARLY START FOR PLAYERS
The official dropping of the puck will be at 7:45 a.m. between the Snowbowl and NAC.
A team selected for the puck drop will carry a large Canadian flag to their rink.
It's an event building on last year's Hockey Day in Canada, also held during Winterlude.
At 10 a.m., alumni of the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens will face off in their own three-on-three shinny game.
Among the alumni will be Brad Marsh, Rick Smith, Rejean Houle and Rick Green.
"We're really doing this for the kids. It's a great event to have the kids play on the Skateway and then afterwards to see former NHL players playing the game," Letourneau said.
Last year, the alumni match and the mass shinny games were held on separate weekends, and drew more than 200 spectators who stood at the banks of the canal or on the ice itself.
STARS TO DISCUSS SPORT
"It's really a fun game," Letourneau said.
During intermission, players will talk about their experience in the NHL and what hockey means to them.
There will be an autograph signing session at the end of the alumni game also.
The canal will be closed to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and Queen Elizabeth Dr. will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
WHAT'S GOING ON?
- 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Confederation Park:
Public Ice-See Creations. Take the challenge to create a masterpiece in ice for public enjoyment. (Minimum age is seven)
- 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Rideau Street Gateway, Snowbowl:
Caribou Cup -- Friendly Shinny Hockey Game. Harry Daniels Memorial Game between Aboriginal peoples and friends on the CCM Skating Rink.
- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Confederation Park:
Culinary Challenge. Renowned Canadian chefs and media personalities demonstrate their talent and expertise while competing for the title of Winterlude Ice Chef. Learn interesting tips and techniques.
- 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Confederation Park:
Public Ice Carving Challenge. This is a chance for all amateur carvers to transform a block of ice into a work of art. Register at www.canadascapital.gc.ca/winterlude. (Minimum age is 18)
- 3:30 p.m. at Jacques Cartier Park: Ice Hogs' Farewell. Give a warm sendoff to the Ice Hog Family.