Hockey's a big hit in village

It's quintessential Canadian, eh.

A log house with native carvings, Mounties standing guard and road hockey out back is showcasing Canada to the world.

British Columbia-Canada Place is a luxurious cabin in the Piazzale Valdo Fusi that any Canuck would love as a vacation spot.

Yesterday, the house had tons of tourists stopping by -- including an Italian dance troupe, which provided a taste of the opening ceremonies -- as Michael Chong, Canada's sport minister, popped in.

Chong seemed to enjoy the ball hockey tour of duty best, even picking up an assist on one of the three goals scored by Sun Media columnist Eric Francis as the Canadian team defeated Team B.C.

Annette Antoniak, the president of the B.C. Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Secretariat, said the daily hockey games outside the complex are gaining popularity.

"Hockey is such a big thing in Canada, obviously. Introducing it to the kids here is important to us."

About 50 Italian school children and their teacher stopped to play a game before Chong's performance.

All of the wood in the home was at one time infested with pine beetles and no live trees were cut down to construct it.

The most impressive feature of the home is the floor-to-ceiling log that is its centrepiece.

Complete with detailed native carvings, the log is 240 years old and was found in a river near Bella Coola on the North Coast of B.C.

Bella Coola, by the way, means nice derriere in Italian.

Antoniak and her team don't want that emphasized, so to speak.