CALGARY --Head coach Andy Murray and Mike Johnston, Team Canada's general manager and associate coach, and Canada's National Team were special guests at the Saddledome as the Calgary Flames held Canadian Hockey Night on Tuesday night.
The evening of activities surrounding the Flames NHL regular-season game against the Boston Bruins was meant to celebrate the contribution Canadian Hockey -- and Canada's National Team -- makes to the Calgary community. Through a special promotion, 1,551 tickets were sold to 53 participating minor-hockey teams, and 35 teams took part in a special pre-game autograph session for teams that bought the minor-hockey ticket package.
Team Canada, which returned Monday from participating in the prestigious Sweden Games tournament in Stockholm, also signed autographs for fans during the first intermission. The club will train at the Royal Bank Canadian Hockey Centre -- the home base for all of Canada's national hockey teams -- this week before flying to Japan for a six-game series against the Japanese National Team.
Before Tuesday night's game, Team Canada head coach Andy Murray joined broadcaster Jock Wilson for a conversation on the Hot Stove Lounge, the pre-game show that airs on radio station 66-CFR. Both Murray and Johnston took part in pre-game ceremonies, as well.
Team building is a well-known -- and highly respected -- element of Canadian Hockey's high-performance programs, and fans at the game were given a taste of that process by way of motivational videos, which were displayed on the Jumbotron screen on the scoreboard throughout the game.
During the first intermission, fans were treated to a demonstration of Canadian Hockey's initiation program, featuring Tykes players from the Fish Creek Falcons and the Ridgewood Avalanche. Dan Moro, manager of the Western Centre of Excellence, which is located in the Saddledome, co-ordinated the on-ice drills. The Centre, a hockey development resource facility for coaches and players, is operated under a partnership between Canadian Hockey and the Calgary Flames. There are similar centres in Vancouver, Toronto and Saint-John, N.B.