Rideau Canal procession kicks off all-star weekend
NHL trophies on display as fans flock to first official event of annual showcase
Fans lined the canal to get a glimpse of all the NHL's hardware, from the Ted Lindsay Award to the Stanley Cup The trophy procession featured 150 Timbits players from Tim Hortons youth hockey program escorting the awards across the canal. Each trophy was on an individual sled with one lucky youngers riding along with it.
Two of the many fans on hand were Ron Palmer and his young son, Justin Palmer, both of whom were donning skates for the festivities. Ron yanked his son out of school for the day, and the trophy procession is just the start for the pair.
"We're here to see the trophies go by," said Ron, who lives not far Scotiabank Place in nearby Stittsville. "He has a PD day (reports cards are being handed out) tomorrow, then we're going to the fan fest all day tomorrow, the skills competition on Saturday, then Sunday we're going to the all-star game. So we're making it an All-Star weekend."
Following the procession, trophy keepers Phil Pritchard and Mike Bolt escorted the trophies into the Ottawa Convention Centre, site of this year's Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair, which opened its doors to the public shortly after the canal parade. There, fans can get a picture with the Stanley Cup, test their skills at different booths, and create their own hockey card thanks to Upper Deck.
But getting to see the trophies on the canal was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Ron and Justin.
"We've seen them at the Hockey Hall of Fame," Ron said, "but nothing like this."
Not surprisingly, Ron was wearing an Ottawa Senators jersey. But his young son decided to go a different way — he was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers jersey.
According to dad, Justin became a Flyers fan because on several occasions, he got to meet Danny Briere, who was born across the river in Gatineau. Justin once received a goal stick from Ilya Bryzgalov, and now he's excited to get a chance to meet Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell at some point during the weekend.
"I want to see all the Flyers on one team," said Justin, hoping Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen don't get split up at tonight's Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, set for an 8 p.m. start at the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau. The event, during which all-star captains Daniel Alfredsson of the Senators and Zdeno Chara of the Bruins will choose their rosters for the skills competition and game at Scotiabank Place, is being televised by TSN.
— Author: Dave Lozo