Time was right for Hometown Hockey

By Jamie Harkins

March 14, 2017 12:00 AM

LOOKING UP Toronto Maple Leafs alumni Rich Sutter shares a bit of hockey wisdom with young fan Parker Tremblay at the Kids Skate. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

Rogers Hometown Hockey, presented by Scotiabank and Dodge, made Lloydminster their 20th stop of the 2016-17 season and the 69th date in the three-year history of the show simply because it was time.
“Hockey is the positive galvanizing force in our country,” said Rogers Hometown Hockey host Tara Slone, who presided over the festivities in the Border City.
“It’s a way for us to gather from minor hockey games to junior A games to senior hockey games to NHL games to sitting in our living room watching a gold medal game in the Olympics.
It’s just a very Canadian pastime and so, for us, the broadcast that we do is a way of telling Canada’s stories through the lens of hockey.”
Ron MacLean, co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey, said the stop allowed them to highlight the rich hockey history of Lloydminster including current NHL star goalie and Border City native Braden Holtby, who is backstopping the Washington Capitals to a possible President’s Trophy right now, veteran NHL forward Clarke MacArthur and two-time Calgary Stampede winner and Allen Cup senior hockey champion Kurt Bensmiller.
“To add to that we have two Bobcats on the broadcast, Austin (McGrath), who was the MVP this year, and Kobe Walker, who was their leading scorer,” said MacLean.
“Both are Lloydminster kids who played AAA there. So, to see them shine on the air that’s the kids’ side of it.”
Slone said the Rogers Hometown Hockey tour has experienced a few challenges as a travelling outdoor festival in the middle of Canadian winters, but they have managed to overcome the obstacles apart from a first season setback due to freezing rain in Cole Harbour, N.S.
She said Lloydminster’s chilly temperatures on Saturday and Sunday were just another obstacle to battle through while in search for a good story.
“A lot of (stories), particularly from me, happen on the ground,” said Slone, noting she attended and documented the Todd Gustavson Memorial Battle of the Badges hockey game on Friday and the Toronto Maple Leafs alumni versus Lloydminster Bobcats match on Saturday.
“A lot of what we do is just talk to people and find out what the heartbeat of the community is. So, that’s what I always love about it and it always happens.”

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