By Kate Bradford
I grew up in a hockey town – Kanata, ON, home of the Ottawa Senators. Naturally, I have been a lifelong hockey fan. More than that, I actually worked for the Ottawa Senators for many years and as a result, my love for Canada’s game only grew stronger. Despite living in Toronto for almost 7 years, I have yet to visit one of our most Canadian of attractions, The Hockey Hall of Fame. This weekend, I was able to finally make my pilgrimage there, and I was blown away.
Perhaps the most popular features of the HHoF are those that allow visitors to play the part of real hockey players. Think you can face the greats? You can actually try your hand at goaltending. More of a shooter? Take on digital versions of your favourite NHL goalies and see how many of your shots score. The exhibits had lines, but the wait wasn’t too long. Helpful attendants ensured everyone was safe and had fun, and both kids and adults alike were itching to get their chance to face the greats.
I was blown away by the sheer scope of the Hall of Fame. Women and mens hockey was equally represented, as was the NHL, OHL, International and Olympic Hockey. Just when I thought I had seen it all, I would find another hall to walk down with more incredible artifacts from the history of hockey.
I love history, and so the recreation of the Montreal Canadians locker room, complete with documentary video and old equipment from the greats, was truly amazing. I actually sat down on the old bench for a few minutes just to take it all in. The central exhibit right now is the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Exhibit, celebrating 100 years of Maple Leafs hockey. It takes visitors through decades of hockey greatness as interviews with famous Leafs play on the central big screen.
Of course, the one exhibit I knew I HAD to see was the Stanley Cup (you can’t visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and not see the Stanley Cup). I climbed the stairs and immediately had my breath taken away by the beautiful hall that houses the cup and other important hockey trophies such as the Memorial Cup and the Hart Trophy. This historic portion of the HHoF features a massive stained glass dome that is almost more impressive than the trophies it houses. The coolest thing, however, lies behind antique vault doors: the top of the original Stanley Cup. Today’s more recognizable cup is regally poised upon a stage where guests can take their photo with it. When you’re finished, you can exit directly into the Spirit of Hockey gift shop, which has memorabilia from every team in every format you can possibly imagine.
With the exclusive Attractions Ontario Coupon, you can save $4 on admission and 10% in the Spirit of Hockey shop. Located just a block away from Union Station, this is a perfect way to spend an afternoon for any hockey fan of any age.
Learn more about The Hockey Hall of Fame