Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

January 20, 2012 13:03 ET

Governor General to Host the Launch of a New NHL Program as Part of Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall and the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2012) - Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite the public to attend the annual Winter Celebration at Rideau Hall, on Saturday, January 28, 2012, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Hockey fever will be in the air this year as the Governor General, along with special guests, will host the launch of a new National Hockey League (NHL) Program Center for the Ottawa region.

Winter Celebration

Winter Celebration is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get active and come experience Nordic sports and traditions through a variety of free outdoor activities. Families and sports enthusiasts will brave the cold by warming up to entertaining activities such as dog sledding; cross-country skiing; snowshoeing; skating on the outdoor rink; participating in giant ski races offered by the Royal Norwegian Embassy; kicksled excursions offered by the Embassy of Finland; or playing Bandy, a form of field hockey on ice, offered by the Embassy of Sweden. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will allow visitors to try on giant wooden shoes and see its display on the innovation of speed skates over the years. In addition, students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut will share their Inuit culture and language through drumming, dancing, throat singing and traditional winter activities.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., visitors will be able to tour the historic residence, its State rooms, and the temporary exhibit 75 years of 'GGreat' Books: the Governor General's Literary Awards, showcasing the more than 600 works that have won the award since 1936.

Free parking will be available at the National Research Council (100 Sussex Drive, a 10-minute walk from Rideau Hall), and on the streets in the surrounding neighbourhood. Limited parking for mobility-impaired guests will be available on the Rideau Hall grounds via Princess Gate.

Launch of NHL Hockey is for Everyone ™ Program Center

At 3 p.m., on Rideau Hall's skating rink, as part of the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend, His Excellency will join George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC Television's "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight;" Mr. Willie E. O'Ree, NHL pioneer, Hockey for Everyone ™ ambassador and Member of the Order of Canada; and Mr. Norm Flynn, Executive Director of Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (H.E.R.O.S.), to launch the first-ever NHL Hockey is for Everyone ™ Program Center in Ottawa.

The center will be operated by H.E.R.O.S., a registered Canadian charitable organization, in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. The premise of H.E.R.O.S. is to empower children of diverse ethnicities from socio-economically challenged neighbourhoods through ice hockey and education. H.E.R.O.S. uses ice hockey as a catalyst to promote positive behaviour by focusing on skills development, self-esteem enhancement, team building and leadership training.

Fifteen local youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (aged 10 to 12) will lace-up and join the Governor General and special guests Mr. Stroumboulopoulos; Mr. O'Ree; Mr. Flynn; and NHL Alumni and NHL All-Stars for hockey drills and a game of shinny on the historic rink (ice conditions permitting.)

Please refer to the annex below for the complete list of activities at the Winter Celebration. The event is presented in partnership with the NHL, the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Embassy of Sweden, and the National Capital Commission.

All activities are free of charge and will take place rain or shine. For more information, please visit www.gg.ca/visitus, or contact us by phone at 613-991-4422 or by email at guide@gg.ca.

MEDIA INVITATION

Launch of NHL Hockey is for Everyone ™ Program Center

Media representatives are invited to attend the official launch of the new Hockey is for Everyone™ Program Center for the Ottawa region, on Saturday, January 28, 2012. The event will take place at 2 p.m., in the Rideau Hall Ballroom.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada will be joined by:

Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner;
George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC Television's "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight;"
Eugene Melnyk Owner, Governor and Chairman of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club;
Willie E. O'Ree, NHL pioneer, Hockey for Everyone ™ ambassador, and Member of the Order of Canada;
Norm Flynn, Executive Director of Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (H.E.R.O.S.); and
15 youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

Media representatives covering this indoor event must arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. for security screening.

At 3 p.m., media representatives are invited to cover the public launch of the NHL program center at the skating rink, as part of Winter Celebration. ***Please note that this event may be cancelled due to poor ice conditions.***

Important note: Media representatives wishing to cover the Winter Celebration must confirm their attendance in advance with the Rideau Hall Press Office (marie-eve.letourneau@gg.ca) and are required to wear their media identification cards at all times while on the Rideau Hall grounds.

ANNEX - Winter Celebration Activities, from 12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Dog Sledding: The young and young-at-heart can embark on a short, thrilling sled ride on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

Kick Sledding: Everyone will enjoy trying out this traditional means of Nordic transportation. A team from the Embassy of Finland will demonstrate kick sledding and encourage visitors to hop on board these unique, chair-mounted sleds.

History of Speed Skates: See a display on the evolution of speed skates over the years, presented by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Norway Giant Ski: This activity, organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, will encourage visitors to strap on Velcro bindings on giant skis that hold eight adults at one time. They will then attempt to ski a certain distance in unison, without stopping or falling over.

Bandy: This ancestor of modern ice hockey, will engage participants in a form of field hockey on ice. This activity is presented by the Embassy of Sweden.

Historic Skating Rink, from 12:30 - 2:15 p.m.: Skate on the historic rink, first established in 1872 by Lord Dufferin, Canada's third governor general.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the grounds of Rideau Hall on a snowshoeing or cross-country ski trail. Snowshoes and skis will be available on-site.

The Nakkertok Cross-Country Ski Club, from 1:30 - 3 p.m.: Coaches will provide information on cross-country skiing while young skiers, aged seven to 12, provide demonstrations.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut Program: The students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut will share their Inuit culture and language through drumming, dancing, throat singing and winter activities.

NHL Mascots, from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.: Don't miss a special visit by official mascots of some Canadian NHL teams.

Tours of Rideau Hall, from 3 - 5 p.m.: Take a break from the outdoors and tour the residence's historic ceremonial rooms to learn more about Canada's history and the role of the governor general.

Snacks: Savour delicious taffy on snow, hot chocolate and other hot beverages during this afternoon of winter festivities.

To obtain a site map of all the activities, visit www.gg.ca/visitus.

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