The Rogers Hometown Hockey tour stop in Chatham-Kent is headed to Wellington Street in downtown Chatham from December 15-16.

The two-day festival features free family-friendly activities, entertainment, giveaways, and NHL alum Tomas Kaberle. It will culminate in an outdoor viewing party of the live Sportsnet broadcast of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets game, hosted from Chatham by Ron MacLean and Tara Slone on Sunday, December 16.

“We’re honoured to have an event like this take place in Downtown Chatham,” stated Paul Shettell, Chair of the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, in a media release.

“We’re expecting thousands of attendees over the weekend to take in the event, visit our restaurants and shops, and have Downtown Chatham broadcast to a national audience.”

The festival will take place on the stretch of Wellington Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.

Festival hours are from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 15 and from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, December 16. The Parade of Champions and NHL pre-game show will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Citizens are encouraged to get into the spirit of the event by celebrating Hometown Hockey Day in CK on Friday, December 14 by wearing a jersey to school or work, decorating their storefronts or homes in red or with a hockey-theme, or by participating in a physical activity.

A Hometown Hockey flag raising ceremony will take place at the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre on Tuesday, December 11 at 11:45 a.m.

Chatham-Kent was announced in August as one of 25 host communities for the season-long touring hockey festival. Rogers Hometown Hockey is broadcast nationally on Sportsnet.

Visit www.chatham-kent.ca/hometownhockey for information on transit, road closures, and the daily schedule of activities when released.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Festival Details:

The free hockey-themed weekend features games, prize giveaways, fun activities, and live local entertainment for the whole family, including:

· Rogers Fan Hub: Rogers celebrates your community within the Fan Hub. Help support local minor hockey and participate in fun and interactive experiences, autograph signings with NHL alum Tomas Kaberle, video game stations, bubble hockey, and popcorn!

· Sportsnet Virtual Photo Booth and Interactive Games: Fans have the chance to get close to their favourite players through virtual technology. Fans can take photos with virtual images of NHL stars, and have the photo emailed directly to their device for social sharing and their chance to win great prizes. In addition, hockey players of all ages will be able to show off their hockey skills and see how they match up to the NHL stars!

· The Hockey Circus Show: Come see Paz, our world-renowned hockey acrobat! Paz juggles everything from pucks to flaming hockey sticks all while standing on top of a net. It is an experience that the family will never forget.

· Scotiabank Community Hockey Rink: A family-friendly outdoor hockey space to engage hockey fans, interact with NHL alumni, celebrate the game and play ball hockey. Scotiabank will also be donating $15,000 to minor hockey associations in the community.

· Ram Haul of Fame: Features the Ram 1500 in a hockey-themed obstacle course that will test the skills of fans of all ages. Also, fans have the opportunity to enter the Breakaway Giveaway contest to win an all-new 2019 Ram 1500 for their family and $5,000 for their local minor hockey association. All contest entrants will receive a free branded giveaway courtesy of Dodge.

· Dr. Oetker Giuseppe Pizzeria: Fans can enjoy a complimentary slice of Giuseppe Pizzeria pizza fresh out of the oven, and learn more about the Find Giuseppe contest with many great prizes to be won!

· Tim Hortons: As fans are enjoying the festival, warm up with a complimentary coffee or hot chocolate from the Tim Hortons mobile truck.

· Playmobil Kids Zone: Fans have the chance to face off against friends and family with the PLAYMOBIL NHL Arena and its lineup of NHL figures. In the zone, fans will also be able to enter to win a new NHL playset.

· Live Local Entertainment: Live music featured throughout the weekend beginning with Rodney James performing on Saturday followed by Johnson’s Creek on Sunday.

· Ted Rogers Community Grants: Ted Rogers Community Grants are being awarded to local Canadian organizations to help support educational programs that enable Canadian youth to succeed inside and outside the classroom. In Chatham-Kent, the Chatham-Kent 4-H has been awarded a 2018 Ted Rogers Community Grant of $15,000 to support initiatives such as a public presentation night, programming for youth leadership clubs and member attendance at events like Career Mania and Future Leaders in Action.

· Giving Together to support hockey in your community: Every week, Rogers is also Giving Together to support hockey in local communities. Attendees can participate in giving back through 50/50 draws or by purchasing popcorn and food from the on-site BBQ. All proceeds are donated to minor hockey organizations.

Rogers Hometown Hockey Event and Broadcast Details

Location:

· Downtown Chatham, Wellington Street (from 3rd to 4th Street)

Time:

· Saturday, Dec. 15 – Festival open from Noon ET to 6 p.m. ET

· Sunday, Dec. 16 – Festival opens at Noon ET and runs through the end of the Rogers Hometown Hockey outdoor viewing party

Broadcast:

– Special Guests: Former Major League Baseball player, Cy Young Award recipient and Chatham-Kent native, Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins, along with a special live musical performance by country music artist and songwriter Kelsi Mayne.

– Game Matchup : Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Winnipeg Jets, 6:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW, Rogers NHL LIVE)

· Features:

o Arena Renaming: Dresden’s Lambton-Kent Memorial Agricultural Centre officially becomes the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre. As a young player, Ken Houston played minor hockey in the area and then went on to play in the NHL, but never forgot his roots. After his playing career, Houston continued to be involved in minor hockey in the area until he passed away earlier this year.

o Para Ice Hockey: Almost two decades ago, when Chatham native Lynn Schultz championed the introduction of Para ice hockey at the local Children Treatment Centre, never did she think it would bring forth two key contributing members of the women’s national Para ice hockey team. Ashley Goure, now a member of Team Canada, and Derek Whitson, former men’s Paralympic bronze medalist and current assistant coach with the national women’s team. Both have Lynn and the Chatham community to thank. The two now face a similar battle Lynn faced, as the national women’s team fights to secure funding and recognition on an international level.