One in four Canadians watched Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada
While the temperature was dropping in host community Swift Current, ratings were going up for the 2019 Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.
The 19th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada broadcast from Swift Current reached a total of 9.6 million Canadians on Saturday, an increase from the 9.1 million viewers recorded during the 2018 broadcast from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. It marks the fourth consecutive year that Hockey Day in Canada viewership has increased, with 2019 drawing five per cent more viewers from the previous year. The Corner Brook broadcast was seven per cent higher than the 20178 edition in Kenora, Ontario, and up 21 per cent from the 2016 telecast from Kamloops.
The marquee matchup of the broadcast was an Original Six showdown between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. The game attracted an average minute audience of 2.2 million viewers and was the most watched program in Canada on Saturday. Conversely, in 2018 the most viewed game was the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Ottawa Senators, which drew an average minute audience of 1.54 million viewers.
The theme of the marathon 12.5-hour broadcast was courage, and the average minute audience for the Celebrating the Game pre-show was up 32 per cent year over year.
“Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada is one of the marquee events in the hockey calendar,” said Rob Corte, Vice-president, Sportsnet & NHL Productions. “It has become a much-anticipated tradition for Canadians coast-to-coast, with this year’s broadcast being particularly emotional, focusing on the theme of courage. Sportsnet, along with our great partners at Scotiabank, could not be more thankful to the local organizing committee and the city of Swift Current. The community lives and breathes hockey and their support and passion was tremendous from start to finish. Swift Current offered the perfect setting to inspire Canadians who tuned in from across the nation.”
The broadcast included a series of feature stories which focussed on the theme of courage. Stories included an inspiring look back at the Swift Current Broncos team which overcame the tragedy of the 1986 bus crash to go to win the 1989 Memorial Cup. There was also an emotional tribute to first responders, including those involved in the fatal 1986 Swift Current Broncos bus crash, and the tragic Humboldt Broncos tragedy last April.
Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault reflected that the four day celebration of hockey was overwhelmingly positive for all of Swift Current.
“I want to thank you to all those that did just an incredible job of highlighting the word community. Our theme was courage, but I think not just courage came across. The word community and working together was something that was shared across our country. It definitely put Swift Current on the map. It’s definitely one of the highlights I’ve had in this job and in this role as mayor. It’s something that I’ll never forget,” Perrault said.
He saluted the Local Organizing Committee who took on large roles to make Hockey Day a reality, shored up by a large contingent of volunteers.
“Quite frankly, I’d say it was an absolute success. All the volunteers, our organizing committee, all the businesses, all the supporters, all the hockey players, all the little kids that were out and about, it was just an incredible week of absolute fun for our community, so much fun.”
Perrault noted there were 900 people at the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada Banquet on February 7, making it the largest dinner hosted in Swift Current history. Hockey fans also turned out in large numbers for the Alumni and Celebrity Classic game last Friday.
The only damper on the four day event was the extreme cold which impacted attendance at the Outdoor Festival on Saturday. But Mayor Perrault noted there was extensive work done by city crews to prepare the site for what could have been larger numbers.
“They were out working since 6:00 that morning. And it was a little nippy outside, that’s not a secret. It was pushing 40 below at 6 in the morning. They were out making sure everything was clean, everything was ready.”
He pointed out he received numerous calls from people looking for tickets for all events once they realized the magnitude of Hockey Day in Canada.
“For anybody that didn’t get a chance to be a part of these last few days, I’m sorry. But we’ve got more exciting events coming this year. And I would urge you to please go on our Western Canada Summer Games website and please sign up now.”
“We’ve got a big summer ahead, and I know you would be disappointed if you weren’t a part of it. So I’m urging the public to please consider it.”