By ALICJA SIEKIERSKA
The first time the Stanley Cup made an appearance in the Rideau Canal, 106 years ago, it was drop-kicked into the water by a member of the Ottawa Silver Seven likely motivated by a few too many celebratory drinks.
But there will be none of those shenanigans the next time the Cup — and several of the other National Hockey League trophies — travels along the canal as part of the opening procession for the all-star game extravaganza coming to Ottawa Jan. 26-29.
At a press conference Friday to provide details of the four-day event, the host Ottawa Senators said the 59th annual all-star game itself will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place.
The popular skills competition will be held the previous night at 7 p.m., also at Scotiabank Place, while the second annual fantasy draft at which the players pick their own teams for the game is set for Casino du Lac Leamy on Thursday the 26th. All three events will be televised.
The weekend will kick off on the afternoon of the 26th when the Stanley Cup, Hart, Conn Smythe and Vezina trophies make their journey down the canal to the Ottawa Convention Centre, home of the NHL Fan Fair.
The fair, which will include more than 30 interactive attractions and exhibits, will also feature special appearances by former and current players, live TV broadcasts and other activities that Senators president Cyril Leeder said “will transform the convention centre into a giant hockey theme park.”
Unique to this year’s lineup of activities will be the Energizer Night Skate, at which participants will don headlamps as they skate five kilometres down the Rideau Canal. Proceeds from the event will go to the Sens Foundation’s goal of building 19 NHL-sized outdoor rinks in Ottawa-Gatineau. The foundation is expecting more than 2,500 skaters will participate in what it hopes will become an annual event.
“We hope it will continue as a legacy event here even after the NHL all-star weekend has concluded,” Leeder said.
Here’s a quick look at the weekend’s activities:
Thursday, Jan. 26
2:30 p.m.: NHL trophy procession on the Rideau Canal, starting at Waverly Street and ending at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
3 p.m.: Fan Fair, convention centre. Tickets can be purchased at capitaltickets.ca, Sociabank Place box office or Canadian Tire locations.
8 p.m.: All-star fantasy draft, Casino de Lac Leamy theatre.
Friday, Jan. 27
10 a.m.- 10 p.m.: Fan Fair, convention centre.
7 p.m.: Energizer Night Skate along Rideau Canal.
Saturday, Jan. 28
9 a.m. — noon: Junior skills national championship for players ages seven to 12. Rideau Canal.
10 a.m. — 6 p. m: Fan Fair, convention centre.
7 p. m: NHL all-star skills competition, Scotiabank Place.
Sunday, Jan. 29
4 p.m.: NHL all-star game, Scotiabank Place.