Saturday, 11 March 2017

It's Woven Into Canada

Canadians, for the most part are defined by a few key things: our weather seems to make people shake their heads when they try to comprehend our winters, we're known for being laid-back and fun-loving, we apparently like our beer, and we're pretty good at this game called hockey. Just as the fabric of our national identity has been woven, there are regional cultures that make us more unique as we work down the granular levels of our society, but it's clear from the number of arenas and participants across this country that we're tied together through hockey.

I made arrangements to send a favorite correspondent in my aunt, Barb, to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec on Thursday for the unveiling of the Hockey exhibit that looks at the "national and personal obsession that brings us together at centre ice, in our living rooms and rinkside — playing, watching, cheering when our team wins and taking it personally when we lose". Barb's knowledge of hockey is about as deep as my knowledge is of ballet - she has an idea, but would be the first to admit that she knows nothing about the game outside of stick, puck, and skates. In other words, she's the perfect person to send to this exhibit if the Museum really wants to attract Canadians of all walks of life to see this presentation!

Barb wandered the exhibit for two hours as she read the information, participated in the interactive exhibits, and took in as much as she could when it came to the individual artifacts. Being a non-hockey person, she found the image-rich and informative exhibit to be speaking to her without overwhelming her or speaking down to her. The artifacts presented had all sorts of history attached to them, and Barb appreciated the leisurely walk through the exhibit where she could pace her own experience.

The staff, according to Barb, were knowledgeable and informative about each exhibit. Obviously, they knew about the hockey artifacts, but there was a lot of pop culture items in the exhibit that they had the back stories on. Things like hockey-themed board games, various tabletop hockey games, books, and food items are all in the exhibit, and Barb found that everyone knew why they were included. The majority of the exhibit was built through personal collections, collections from company archives, other museums, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the employees working around this collection knew everything possible about these artifacts!

While she's definitely not part of the exhibit, the woman to the right has had a big part in bringing it to the Canadian Museum of History. Her name is Éliane and she is the Social Media and Media Relations Officer at the Museum. She was responsible for bringing everyone together on Thursday morning to showcase the Hockey exhibit before it opens to the public. She has been instrumental in getting me the info needed to preview this fantastic exhibit at one of Canada's most important institutions, so say hi to her if you visit the Museum and tell her you read about the exhibit on Hockey Blog In Canada!

In saying that, Éliane wanted me to point out some of the highlights of the collection. They include Jacques Plante's revolutionary "pretzel" goalie mask, Hayley Wickenheiser's skates, "Rocket" Richard's All-Star jersey and Hall of Fame and Stanley Cup rings, Paul Henderson's Canada jersey from the 1972 Summit Series from Game Eight where he scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of play, and Shania Twain's hockey-inspired stage costumes!

Among the historical information are innovations in player safety, the growth of women's hockey, cultural politics, and the power of media in the world of hockey. In being included in the media portion of the preview of this exhibit, Hockey Blog In Canada needs to ensure that Éliane gets a big "thank you" and a grand "merci" for letting Barbara into the event to get me this info! Thank you et merci beaucoup, Éliane!

Some of you might be asking how much it costs to see the Hockey exhibit at the Museum since it is a special exhibit outside of the Museum's normal collection. I also had the same question, but this is where the Canadian Museum of History takes on the role of awesome. All of my research points to the Hockey exhibit being part of the general admission fee at the Museum!

Adults will get to see all the collections for $15, senior citizens over the age of 65 get into see all of the Museum for $13, students with valid student ID get in for $11, and children aged 3-12 will see the exhibits for $9! Families with two adults and 3-5 children can save some money by getting a family pass for $36! Pretty good deals there, right?

Without further adieu, here are some of the artifacts that Barb captured digitally while wandering through the Hockey exhibit! You can see all of this and more during your visit!

I want to give a big thank you to Barb, my correspondent in Ottawa for this adventure, as she went and did the work, a second thank you to Éliane for allowing Barb and Hockey Blog In Canada into the exhibit, and to the Canadian Museum of History for bringing this great exhibit on Canada's official winter sport to life! The Hockey exhibit runs from March 10 until October 9, so plan your next trip to include this outstanding exhibit!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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