Hockey Headlines

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Next Three Days

While the title of this article is the same as a Russell Crowe movie, I assure you there will be no appearances from the Mystery, Alaska star. I have spent a vast number of days on the road this month, and I finally arrive back home only to spend the next three days working outdoors at the Heritage Classic Spectator Plaza! I'm sure I'm going to be exhausted after this weekend, but I happily accepted a position in the Reebok tent where I'm sure there will be many people who visit. What will I be doing? I can only explain it - I wasn't allowed to take pictures - so I'll do my best in walking you through what the tent and plaza will offer!

We'll start on the right side nearest the entrance. With Tim Hortons as the key sponsor of the Heritage Classic, there is a spot where the Canadian coffee company will hand out free warm beverages that consist of hot coffee and hot chocolate. Both have become staples of the Canadian hockey culture, so there's no surprise here on either choice that Tim Hortons is offering.

It also appears that Tim Hortons will be offering up a booth where those who are collecting the Upper Deck Tim Hortons hockey cards can acquire a specially-designed album for the card set. I haven't seen said album, but they were loading boxes into the tent and they had a few out, so I assume that's what may have been happening. I also assume there is some sort of card exchange there, but I didn't have time to stop and chat with these people. They were busy, and so were we!

The next tent was occupied by Fantasy Scoreboards. These scoreboards will display the game info from whichever team one selects for every game from what I understood. I get that some man-caves may require a scoreboard, but isn't that why you watch the game? Anyway, they had scoreboards for a number of teams and it appears they know their stuff when it comes to their products. They have a slick presentation.

The Reebok tent is up next, and it's where I am spending the weekend. There's a cool opportunity for fans to have the Heritage Classic clothing and jerseys superimposed over their own clothes for a photo, and then that photo can be texted to a cell phone! It takes some maneuvering to get the superimposed clothing just right, but it actually looks pretty cool when everything "fits" properly. There's also a cool virtual hockey game where one can partake in a skills competition or two players can play an air hockey game using real sticks! How cool is that? We didn't get to play much today, but this appears to be one of the more high-tech booths at Spectator Plaza.

Honda has a pile of stuff to do in the next tent, and they appear to be giving away all the goods as well. They were hauling in bags and sunglasses and other assorted boxes of stuff, so it appears that there's a chance to win something with their target practice game. Needless to say, you're probably going to want to get your free gear from Honda if you stop by their tent.

At the end of the row is the Rogers Fan Hub where there's a pile of Rogers-based stuff to do. You can have your face on a magazine, you can get a virtual autograph, and there's a virtual reality setup. It's a pretty solid assortment of things to do, and it's warm inside the trailer if it happens to get cold! That's always a bonus!

As one turns the corner, there's the main stage where Sum 41 will play on Sunday. It appears that there's enough room for a good crowd to gather in front of the stage, so there could be a heckuva lot of people watching the band play this weekend. They were testing the video screens by running a top-20 outdoor game moments as well, and there's some great images and history in that video compilation!

Past the beverage vendor is the Molson Canadian bubble hockey station. It is literally a bubble that one can enter and play some two-on-two hockey inside! How cool is that? The guys setting it up appeared to be using it more as protection from the rain, but the idea of playing inside the bubble in a two-on-two game sounds like a blast!

Next to the bubble hockey game were the food trucks. Nothing special here: chicken wings, wraps, poutine, and beer. In other words, standard Canadian hockey food when it comes to watching the game with friends!

The Winnipeg Jets had a little stand at the end of the middle row with various facts about the Jets to which kids could compare themselves. There was a 6'6" Blake Wheeler height chart, Dustin Byfuglien's death grip, and Mark Scheifele's sprint or something to those effects. It appears that the Jets will be looking for their next diamond in the rough with these challenges!

On the left side, Scotiabank had a pretty awesome igloo set up where one could get a 360° image of some sort. They weren't allowing anyone inside, so I assume this is some sort of new-fangled technology. Or simply a panoramic setup of cameras. Either way, the Scotiabank igloo is something I want to check out at some point this weekend.

Hershey brought out a ton of Reese peanut butter cups, but they weren't being given away. Instead, there appeared to be Reese cake - chocolate cake with icing and Reese's Pieces on top - and the new Reese's snack mix. Honestly, the sweet and savory snack was good! Reese mini peanut butter cups with peanuts and pretzel pieces? Yeah, that's good eats. I'm gonna partake in more of those this weekend.

And last, but certainly not least, there was a ball hockey rink set up that used the rules of pond hockey. It appeared that multiple people could play at the same time, and there were a pair of rinks ready to go. I'm not sure I'll get in there, but there will most likely be street hockey games happening all weekend long!

The NHL Alumni Game goes tomorrow while the Heritage Classic game goes Sunday. I'll have more updates as the weekend progresses! I am going to the Alumni Game, so expect a full recap about the legends playing in the game! If you're in Winnipeg for the game, stop by the Reebok tent and say hi! I'll be there all weekend as well!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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