For the last ten years, CBC and Kraft Foods Canada have honored the communities that have committed themselves to growing the game with Kraft Hockeyville. For example, in 2007, North Bay, Ontario won Kraft Hockeyville. Since then, North Bay has welcomed back junior hockey when the Battalion relocated from Brampton in 2013. Last season, Kraft Foods, in association with NBC Sports, followed in the footsteps of CBC and launched their own version of Hockeyville in the United States. The two finalists for the inaugural Hockeyville USA contest was Decatur, Illinois and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In the end, the city, best known as the town that was home to the Great Flood of 1889 and most recently, the home of the fictional Charlestown Chiefs of the Federal League in the 1977 hockey comedy Slap Shot won the $150,000 grand prize in arena upgrades and the right to host a NHL preseason game. Tomorrow Night, NBCSN will honor the movie that made the Cambria County War Memorial Arena famous.
NBC Sports host Bob Costas will host the inaugural Hockeyville USA broadcast at the arena he started his legendary broadcasting career. In 1973, Costas, then a senior at Syracuse University, called his first game for the Syracuse Blazers as they faced off against the hometown Johnstown Jets. NHL on NBC host Liam McHugh will join studio analyst Mike Milbury to talk about the game, a matchup between the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but more importantly, talk about how it was like playing in the era of old-time hockey. NHL on NBC lead play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick will call the game alongside 9-time NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick and Pierre McGuire will analyze the game from inside the glass. During the game, there will be appearances from all 3 Hanson Brothers: Dave Hanson, Jeff Carlson, and Steve Carlson. Also, current NHL players will have a chance to get to talk about the movie. Immediately after the game, NBCSN will air Slap Shot in its glorious entirety.
In order to give you a taste of what’s to happen in Johnstown on Tuesday, here’s a clip from the first intermission of NBC’s coverage of the 2008 NHL Winter Classic, where the topic is…NHL players talking about Slap Shot.