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Northern ?hockey hall of fame? to open July 2004 in Kirkland Lake

Hockey is more than just a game in Northern Ontario?it?s a way of life. Lasting memories are just one of the great benefits.
Hockey is more than just a game in Northern Ontario?it?s a way of life. Lasting memories are just one of the great benefits. The soon-to-be built Hockey Heritage North (HHN) in Kirkland Lake, is designed to honour the people, places and memories that have made hockey such a vital component in our everyday lives.

The town of Kirkland Lake alone is home to 41 National Hockey League players.

?We are acknowledging the contributions of hockey at the amateur and community level as well as the 300-plus players from the north who were fortunate enough to play in the NHL,? said Steve Cox, operations manager.

The project has maintained its hectic schedule with only one major change so far.

The Hockey Lifestyle component will be changed to a travelling exhibit zone.

?It was just getting difficult to define what that component was going to be,? said Cox.

In the first year of operation, the travelling exhibit zone will feature artifacts from the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF).

?The HHOF exhibit gives us more flexibility to display all kinds of artifacts and memorabilia,? said Cox.

?It fits the need of the facility better.?

The HHOF exhibit also reinforces the partnership with HHN.

Currently Cox and staff are working with the interior design team, Bronskill and Company, on finalizing details inside the building. They are also working with architects, Ellis Pastore Owsin Consultants of Sault Ste. Marie, to finalize the outside of the building.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place this July with the anticipated grand opening set for July 2004.

HHN will take visitors on a trip through time with plenty of exciting things to do and see. As guests move from the lobby, they will be absorbed into the world of Northern Ontario hockey and its importance to our way of life.

?You don?t have to be a hockey fan to enjoy what hockey has meant to the north,? said Cox.

?This place will be a total entertainment centre with something for everyone.?

The Hockey Traditions exhibit will feature display cases full of images, artifacts and memorabilia depicting the rich heritage and tradition of hockey in northeastern Ontario.

As visitors leave that zone, they will enter the Today?s Heroes exhibit which will features current NHL stars who began their marvelous careers in northeastern Ontario.

Next, visitors can check out the Interview the Stars exhibit. Here, fans will be allowed the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with one of their favourite stars through the magic of blue screen technology.

Then fans can go through to the Regional Exhibits zone. Here visitors can check out the hockey history of communities across the north.

Fans will then move into the Champions zone. Here visitors can celebrate the dreams of thousands of youngsters who play the game everyday. All levels of hockey will be featured and it will be changed annually.

Then fans will enter the before-mentioned HHOF Traveling Exhibit.

From there visitors will enter the grand Gold Hall and a chance to soak in the rich atmosphere of the more than 300 players, coaches and officials from northeastern Ontario who played in the NHL.

From there visitors will enter the Fun Zone. This zone will feature 2,500 square feet, jam-packed with games and unique activities such as taking your best shot at being a goalie, shooting on goal, super skills, hockey trivia, air and table hockey games and experiencing what it?s like to be a referee.

Then guests will enter The Theatre and be immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of an indoor arena in Northern Ontario.

Finally there will be an outdoor rink to enjoy shinny hockey and a resource centre where fans can view a host of materials that made hockey such a great sport to play in the North.

?This facility is going to represent all of northeastern Ontario and the important role hockey has played in the small and large towns,? said Cox.

For more information, phone 1-866-568-4420 or send a e-mail to hockeyheritagenorth@ntl.aibn.com.