The National Hockey League is coming to Colwood.
The puck drops on Sept. 21 at The Q Centre as the Vancouver Canucks take-on the San Jose Sharks in a special pre-season exhibition game.
Back in April, the Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich was announced as the national grand prize winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2015, receiving $100,000 to fund arena improvements and the option to host a NHL pre-season game.
However, after considering a number of factors, such as seating and rink safety specifications, a push was made to find a different venue for the event.
Back in April, a number of officials from the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and Kraft Hockeyville toured four locations, the Panorama, the Juan de Fuca arena, The Q Centre, and the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. The decision was made by Kraft and NHL officials to move the pre-season game to The Q Centre and was announced last week.
“We’re thrilled to be able to host this event,” said Wade Davies, manager of operations for West Shore Parks and Recreation, which will host the NHL for a total of five days to allow for arena setup and changes to rink boards advertising and ice logos.
The B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies are on the road at that time, which worked out perfectly, Davies said. Even if the Victoria Shamrocks wind up hosting the Mann Cup lacrosse championship, it would be over by the time the arena needs to be turned over, he added.
Asked why the game was not slotted in at the larger Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, Davies said his understanding of the situation was that the organizers “wanted to keep it more of a small town feel.”
Exact ticket details have yet to be released, but the North Saanich Local Organizing Committee and Kraft Hockeyville announced that tickets will be distributed lottery-style for the big game and the morning practices at The Q Centre, all of which will be free.
“As details are finalized,” reads a Panorama Facebook post, “the LOC will keep all the community up to date with the planned events surrounding the game.”
Several related events are also being planned for the North Saanich area and the Panorama.