The LaSalle Vipers, in grey sweaters, join Lasalle Town Council, town administration and youth hockey players in unveiling LaSalle as a Hometown Hockey host, September 10, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

LaSalle is officially a hockey hometown

One Windsor-Essex community will, for one weekend this winter, be at the centre of the hockey world.

The town of LaSalle is officially revealed as one of the 25 communities across Canada that will play host to Rogers Hometown Hockey on February 22 and 23, 2020. The announcement was formally made at LaSalle Town Council’s meeting Tuesday night after an embargo imposed by Rogers was lifted.

The town was made aware of the hosting honours in June. However. LaSalle was sworn by Rogers and Sportsnet to secrecy as all of the preparations were finalized. LaSalle Mayor Marc Bondy, clad in a Rogers Hometown Hockey jersey, said now that the secret is out, the town can’t wait to prepare.

“There was no letting it out of the bag, so we followed their rules and procedures, and we could see by the support this evening with the hockey teams and the Vipers. It’s great,” said Bondy. “We get to showcase LaSalle and also the surrounding area.”

Hometown Hockey is a celebration of hockey at the community level. Each host municipality has a chance to show off how they make Canada’s national pastime a part of its everyday life. Julie Columbus, the town’s director of culture and recreation, said the Vollmer Complex would be the centrepiece of a giant hockey festival, with two national hockey hosts leading the festivities.

“Ron McLean and Tara Slone will be here, they’re going to integrate themselves with things that are happening at the Vollmer that day,” said Columbus. “They will be in the midst of the playoffs for LMHA and the Vipers. Various hockey organizations will be here.”

The LaSalle celebration will coincide with the national broadcast on February 23 of the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames at Little Caesars Arena.

Southwestern Ontario is no stranger to the Hometown Hockey celebration. Over the past few years, the festival has been held in Owen Sound, Sarnia, Windsor, London, St. Thomas, and this past December, Chatham-Kent. Strathroy-Caradoc is hosting the festival on November 2 and 3 of this year.

Windsor’s event in the fall of 2016 was part of the lead-up toward the Spitfires hosting the Memorial Cup tournament.

The complete schedule of the Hometown Hockey Tour of 2019-2020 is available at its official website.