Hometown Hockey co-host ready for West Kelowna visit

Tara Slone and Ron MacLean host the Hometown Hockey festival this weekend

Tara Slone has been exploring the small hockey-loving Canadian towns as the co-host of Hometown Hockey since 2014. Alongside her co-host, Ron MacLean, the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour will make one of its four stops in B.C. this weekend with a visit to West Kelowna.

One of the smaller locations for sure, but not lacking the aforementioned hockey-loving.

“When we show up (in the bigger towns) like Vancouver, we don’t make much of a ripple, which is why the smaller locations tend to be my favourite,” said Slone. “It’s a nice way to meet local hockey legends, and minor hockey (communities). It sounds silly, but it’s so nice to have the reminder that people are really wonderful. This show tells stories that make people feel good and unites our love of the sport.”

Slone said it’s also nice to be integrated into the community when she visits and there are plenty of opportunities this weekend for that to happen.

Hockey fans across the Okanagan are set to join the free festivities at the Mt. Boucherie Community Centre this weekend, set to take part in games, autograph signings, and a live broadcast with MacLean and Slone on Sunday for the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Arizona Coyotes.

“We’ve done a show in Kelowna before, but this is an opportunity to explore what makes the West Kelowna side proud,” said Slone. “Ron and I are privileged to be welcomed the way we are.”

The Hometown Hockey Tour is a combination of live and broadcasted events which includes special guests and former NHLers Kirk McLean, Jordin Tootoo and Josh Gorges, as well as musical guests Shawn Lightfoot Band, and Ben Klick.

With broadcast specials featuring Stanley Cup winner Justin Shultz, and Okanagan ice rink maker Mike Craig.

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“It’s a big deal for the community to have the festival take place and have national exposure,” said West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom. “The pre-game show will be devoted to West Kelowna and Westbank First Nations, with an outdoor viewing party for the Maple Leafs game on Sunday. It’s fun for the residents, and it’s a good opportunity to showcase the greater west side, and celebrate the sport of hockey within our community.”

It’s a jam-packed pack weekend for the hosts once their feet hit the ground, as Slone will be bouncing around to the many games and events throughout the weekend. With stops at the West Kelowna Warriors game, and the Kelowna Rockets game, she will get to embrace the hockey world of West Kelowna, and highlight the fan experiences for hockey lovers throughout the Okanagan.

The Shawn Lightfoot Band kicks off Hometown Hockey Saturday at 12 p.m. with a live performance. Kirk McLean will be signing autographs Saturday at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m, as well as Sunday at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m., and 4 p.m.

Kelowna Rockets’ alumni Josh Gorges, who announced his retirement from the NHL earlier this week, will be available for autographs on Saturday at 12:30 p.m, and on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.

Other events throughout the weekend include The Hockey Circus Show, hockey trivia, and a ball hockey game between the West Kelowna Police, West Kelowna Fire, and NHL alumni.

The Tour also makes a stop at the sənsisyustən House of Learning in Westbank Friday as retired NHL and BCHL players will be given the opportunity to answer questions from the students.

“It has been an incredible way to explore the country, and it has been a universally positive experience,” said Slone.

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