What easily could have been the ultimate Canadian event – an outdoor NHL game on Parliament Hill – won’t happen after all.
The Heritage Ministry announced Friday it was abandoning the idea because of security and logistics challenges. Instead, the department says it will look at bringing other events to the Hill for winter.
It is still possible the game could still happen, but a new location would have to be found. Mayor Jim Watson has previously floated Landsdowne Park as a possible alternative.
The Ottawa Senators had hoped to have the game as a way to commemorate the team’s 100th anniversary, which takes place this December.
The plan had been in the works since at least 2012, according to the Ottawa Business Journal.
Feds say NHL outdoor game on Parliament hill not feasible because of security and logistical problems. Too bad. Would have been spectacular.
— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) November 4, 2016
No game on Parliament Hill is a huge missed opportunity by the federal government. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) November 4, 2016
(Statement from mayor Jim Watson)
Ottawa – In response to the news that Parliament Hill will not be able to accommodate an NHL Heritage Classic in 2017, I want to thank the Government of Canada for its efforts in assessing the feasibility of making this possible over the last few months. I understand the security and logistical challenges involved in hosting an event of this magnitude on the Hill, and I appreciate their thoughtful and diligent consideration of the matter.
As you know, I have championed for a number of years the idea of hosting an NHL outdoor hockey game in Ottawa during our celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Recreating an outdoor game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens would mark the 100th anniversary of the very first NHL game, which took place in Ottawa in December 1917 between these two teams. This is a significant milestone for our country and our national game, and I still believe it should be properly celebrated in our nation’s capital.
As a result of these recent developments, I have reached out to the Ottawa Senators and the NHL to see how we can move this discussion forward. We have agreed to pursue the conversation, and I look forward to meeting with the Senators’ ownership next week.
I know the residents of Ottawa would appreciate cheering on the Ottawa Senators at this blockbuster event as much as I would. I look forward to working on their behalf over the next few months in an attempt to secure an agreement between the City and the Senators that would see this happen in Ottawa in 2017.