City rep thrilled to be hosting 'Coach's Corner'

Nancy MacPhee
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Ron MacLean and Don Cherry will be in Summerside for Hockey Day in Canada next month.

SUMMERSIDE - JP Desrosiers gets excited as he talks about "Coach's Corner" being broadcast live from EastLink arena this February.

"Don Cherry will be here at Credit Union Place," said Summerside's event development officer. "You watch 'Hockey Night in Canada' every Saturday night and you see Don. But to see him in your own hometown doing 'Coach's Corner,' I have goosebumps thinking about it."

Credit Union Place will be on display for the country to see, the backdrop during CBC's "Hockey Day in Canada" live 13-hour broadcast on Feb. 11.

"Any time you have Ron MacLean and Don Cherry doing 'Coach's Corner' and hosting 'Hockey Night in Canada' from your venue it's pretty awesome," said Desrosiers, who sits on the local Hockey Day 2012 organizing committee. "Not too many communities get that opportunity."

He added that it's impossible to put a price tag on the exposure.

"Right now our investment as a city is essentially services in kind. It's very minimal that way. From an impact perspective, it's hard to measure the impact you get when you get 13 hours of live broadcast from your city," said Desrosiers. "It's a fairly immeasurable level of media coverage."

And the economic spinoff is expected to be huge.

"Hotels are full or getting full. From an economic perspective, it's going to fill our city for a weekend in February."

Leading up to the big day, CBC will compile stories on various aspects of hockey life on the Island to air during its live broadcast.

"There's a bazillion stories out there. What CBC is trying to do is narrow them down. I don't have confirmation on what stories they are trying to do yet," said Desrosiers. "As a city, we're submitting our ideas. I know that Wyatt Heritage Properties are working hard with the host committee trying to find some signature stories."

The city hopes the community, its citizens and businesses get excited and display their hockey and Island pride for the country to see. There's talk of an outdoor rink contest and having businesses decorate storefronts.

The day of the live broadcast there are plans for an outdoor rink outside Credit Union Place, live entertainment, food vendors, a pancake breakfast, street hockey tournament, booths inside the facility, live CBC radio broadcasts, a hockey memorabilia exhibit inside Veterans Convention Centre and hockey clinics.

And, of course, there's hockey, with two games at EastLink Arena. The first matchup is between UPEI Panthers and St. Thomas Tommies and the Summerside Western Capitals will take on the Miramichi Timberwolves in the evening.

Desrosiers said MacLean likely would do most of his broadcast from outside Credit Union Place, moving inside for the pre-game show.

"We're hosting because the facility allows us to do it. It's another opportunity again for us to show the versatility of the building and show how awesome it is."

Organizations: Union Place, CBC, Veterans Convention Centre Summerside Western Capitals

Geographic location: Canada, St. Thomas

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