Day one of Hometown Hockey in West Kelowna

The first day of Rogers Hometown Hockey brought in perfect weather for the hockey-loving festival. If only Mt. Boucherie didn’t completely block out the sun on a perfect, but cold, January afternoon.

The first of two days, Hometown Hockey kicked off with live music from the Shawn Lightfoot Band and saw waves of fans and families enjoying the events.

Ball hockey, slap-shot speedometer, video games, and free pizza were well received by the countless amounts of hockey fans, who were sporting their favourite jerseys from Trevor Linden to Sydney Crosby.

Among the fans, West Kelowna Warriors were enjoying the afternoon and signing some autographs Saturday. Kelowna Rockets will be signing autographs on Sunday.

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom was walking with a personalized jersey, enjoying the day as well.

The Hometown Hockey Tour has been making stops throughout Canada since 2014, stopping in the smaller communities to highlight, recognize, and celebrate small hockey-loving communities.

West Kelowna was just one of four stops in B.C. this year, and featured a live hot-stove conversation with former NHLers Jordin Tootoo and Josh Gorges hosted by Hometown Hockey’s Tara Slone.

Gorges announced his retirement from the NHL earlier this week. Gorges and Tootoo were sharing some of their fondest hockey memories with the fans in West Kelowna.

“I’m very lucky and fortunate to have been able to stay in my entire career up through to junior in Kelowna,” said Gorges. “You grow up and all you ever think about is playing in the NHL, and nothing else matters.”

“I got to play for my hometown team and Kelowna is one of the best CHL teams to play for. But I may be a bit biased,” said Gorges as laughs came from the crowd.

RELATED: Hometown Hockey co-host ready for West Kelowna visit

The Tour will conclude Sunday evening, but not before more hockey events including autograph signings with Gorges, Tootoo, and Kirk McLean, as well as a live broadcast with Slone and Ron MacLean during Sunday night’s game of the Arizona Coyotes in Toronto to face the Maple Leafs.

The broadcast will have special features dedicated to the celebration of the many people involved in West Kelowna hockey.

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Jordin Tootoo and Josh Gorges speak about their hockey experiences with Hometown Hockey co-host Tara Slone. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
PAZ from the Hockey Circus Show entertains the fans during the festivities. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
Some of the fans at Hometown Hockey at the Mt. Boucherie Community Centre in West Kelowna. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
West Kelowna Warriors were having fun with the fans. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
Donations were made to West Kelowna and Kelowna minor hockey. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
Young fans and players were playing some ball hockey during the festivities. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News

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