Dreams of NHL game on Parliament Hill melt as feds cite logistical concerns

The federal government has ruled out the possibility of an NHL game on Parliament Hill to close out next year’s celebrations marking Canada’s 150th anniversary.

 

The office of Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said the federal government had spent some 18 months studying the feasibility of a hockey game on Parliament Hill, which would also mark the NHL’s 100th anniversary.

 

“In the highly complex environment regarding events on Parliament Hill, including the need for the uninterrupted operations of parliamentary business, public access, and security, a full-stadium NHL game was deemed not feasible and is no longer one of the options being considered,” said Pierre-Olivier Herbert, the minister’s press secretary, in a statement.

He added that the government is exploring other ways to conclude the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Ottawa Senators and other proponents had proposed the game as one of several major events that would help make the country’s 150th anniversary a year-long celebration.

The hockey club said it was disappointed by the decision.

“To host a game on Parliament Hill would have been iconic and historic and, in our view, the best way to cap off the year-long celebrations in 2017 to honour both the League’s Centennial and Canada’s 150,” the Senators said in a statement.

While the hockey club has previously said it was solely shooting for a December game on Parliament Hill, others have suggested that TD Place at Lansdowne Park could be an alternative venue.

It’s not clear if either the Senators would be interested in using TD Place, which is scheduled to have additional seating temporarily installed for the Grey Cup the previous month, or if the NHL would approve such a proposal.

In a statement, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said he had reached out to the Ottawa Senators and the NHL to explore ways of holding an outdoor hockey game next year.