Red Deer and hundreds of residents found themselves on TV screens across the nation Sunday night during the Calgary Flames vs. Montreal Canadiens’ game.
Rogers and Scotiabank teamed up in the Red Deer Arena parking lot to bring the stories of Red Deer’s hockey heroes to millions of viewers.
The preshow of the Calgary Flames vs. the Montreal Canadiens was filled with Hometown Hockey coverage detailing primarily the story of the Sutter family including six brothers – Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich, and Ron who all reached the NHL in the 70s and 80s as well as all played junior hockey in Red Deer.
The coverage also told the story of Darryl, coach of the Los Angeles Kings, and his son Chris Sutter who was born with Down’s syndrome and has now become an integral part of the Kings’ bench by providing what Darryl referred to as ‘Chris’s magic’.
The Hometown Hockey series has been travelling across the country telling the stories of hockey legends and hometown stories with host Ron MacLean, whose hometown just happens to be Red Deer as well. MacLean shared stories from his boyhood home in Red Deer where he was once the radio voice of the Red Deer Rustlers hockey team, as well as his days at Red Deer College where he met his wife.
Retired NHL player Darcy Tucker who primarily played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, was also onhand over the weekend. Tucker, who is originally from around 45 minutes east of Red Deer in a town called Endiang, spent a year playing ‘AAA’ hockey in Red Deer.
“I was on the plane ride here today and coming back to Red Deer brings up a lot of memories for me,” said Tucker. “This is where I played my one year of ‘AAA’ hockey and playing here was a treat for me when I was a kid so to see kids playing a game today in the arena where I used to play was really special for me.”
Tucker explained that, “What people mostly see now on Sunday night games is the community aspect of the hometowns where people grew up.
“Thousands of stories come out of minor hockey associations across the country every year, whether it’s someone making it to the big leagues or someone who scored their first goal and it’s great to see those stories being told through Hometown Hockey.”
During Hometown Hockey, Scotiabank announced they would be donating $15,000 to the Red Deer Pond Hockey Association to provide support for ice time and equipment for players.
Mayor Tara Veer, along with former NHL player Grant Fuhr who is originally from Spruce Grove near Edmonton, partnered to judge the ‘Cheer Like Never Before’ competition, which showcased four Red Deer minor hockey teams who submitted cheer videos for their chance to win a prize.
The Express 24 Novice ‘B’ Tigers took the win with their use on the iconic, ‘R-E-Double D – Double E – R let’s go!’ chant. The Tigers were entered in a national draw for their team to get to go to an NHL game.
Other icons mentioned during the weekend’s homage to all that is Red Deer’s hockey history was what Rogers referred to on their web site as the, “Country’s grandest Midget AAA hockey dynasty, the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs who have won five-straight provincial championships,” as well as other NHL players past and present who played in the NHL including current players Kris Russell (Calgary Flames), Colton Sceviour (Dallas Stars), Paul Postma (Winnipeg Jets) and Matt Fraser (Boston Bruins).