The 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™: A Hockey Extravaganza!
It can only be described as a hockey extravaganza. From the reshaping of Mosaic Stadium’s field into an ice arena to the PreGame fan festival to the good old hockey game between the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames played under the stars (and in the snow) to the delight of thousands of roaring fans, the entire production was spectacular — and an event you really want to have happen in your city.
It had been 25 years since the NHL had staged any regular-season games in Saskatchewan — all at SaskPlace in Saskatoon during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. While there have been 27 regular-season outdoor NHL games to date, this season’s game in Regina between the Jets and the Flames was the fifth in the Heritage Classic series.
The day before the game at the NHL Heritage Classic Legacy Luncheon, the “NHL Hockey Is For Everyone” Scholarship was unveiled. As a lasting legacy of this Heritage Classic, the NHL, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames jointly invested $300,000 to fund a new scholarship available to undergraduate students who play hockey at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. The scholarship will be available each year to four students: one female and one male hockey player at each school.
The PreGame, the official fan festival of the outdoor game, entertained fans of all ages at Confederation Park on game day and Sunday. Free to the public, fans were treated to free coffee or hot chocolate at Tim Hortons Coffee Trucks, and got a chance to play interactive games, take in attractions and see the Stanley Cup.
And then there were all the activities happening during Hockey Week in Regina (October 21 to 27), including a Hockey Filmfest, free skating, hockey games, a pancake breakfast and much more. It all wound up with the 2019 WHL Prairie Classic on Sunday as the Regina Pats took on the Calgary Hitmen on the outdoor arena at Mosaic Stadium.
The Good Old Hockey Game… in Mosaic Stadium
This wasn’t just any Saturday night NHL game. It was a party that didn’t stop, and temperatures just below freezing didn’t hurt. A lineup of musical performers with roots in Saskatchewan — Jess Moskaluke, the Hunter Brothers and The Sheepdogs — performed during the opening ceremony and between periods. Throughout the game, Canadian supergroup Toque served as the house band, treating fans to classic Canadian hits. The ceremonial puck drop was also special, involving Fred Sasakamoose, one of the NHL’s first indigenous players; Brigette Lacquette, the first indigenous player on Canada’s Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team; two local youth hockey players, and NHL alumni Lanny McDonald and Thomas Steen.
Like a quintessential Canadian postcard in a snow-globe atmosphere, the Jets and Flames treated the sold-out crowd to fantastic hockey — and what could be better than a game going into overtime! The players left it all on the ice as the Winnipeg Jets pulled out a victory, and fans left feeling entertained and satiated from watching some of the best players in the world duke it out on good old fashioned outdoor ice inside our beloved Mosaic Stadium. It was indeed the “perfect storm.”
When the NHL comes to town, they don’t "play." And neither do the citizens of Regina and Saskatchewan. Together, they delivered a week of hockey that will be remembered for years to come.
Saskatchewan is Hockey!
Saskatchewan makes up 3 per cent of Canada’s total population (2016 census) and has produced nearly 10 per cent of the country’s all-time NHL players — the most NHLers among all provinces, U.S. states or European nations on a per-capita basis.
A total of 516 players in NHL history have been born in Saskatchewan. Those players have skated in more than 137,000 games, recorded 21,000+ goals and 56,000+ points, and won a combined 171 Stanley Cups.
Photos Ignite Media