Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame

There is one building, , the former Bank of Montreal at the corner of Yonge and Front Streets in the centre of downtown Toronto, which I passed by quite a lot in my Toronto travels last summer .  I just love the bronze piece at the corner on the south side of the building.  Young hockey players are climbing over the boards, smiling faces telling us what they love to do.  Quite appropriate for the building housing the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum.

It is no surprise that with Toronto being such a big hockey town we are the home to the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.  A non-profit business operates the facility as  both a  Hall of Fame and a Museum and is independent of the National Hockey League.  The Hall of Fame was originally sponsored by the NHL and Hockey Canada but is now self supporting through revenue mainly through admissions.    Originally located in Kingston and then in Toronto's CNE, it was moved to it's current location in 1993.

The building, now part of Brookfield Place, was designed by Frank Darling and S. George Curry. It has 4,700 m2 (50,600 sq ft) of exhibition space and hosts more than 300,000 visitors each year.

It is a large space full of  ice hockey artifacts and memorabilia, such as the original Stanley Cup donated to the Hall in 1893 by Lord Stanley and of course various famous player's sticks and skates.  But aside from these sorts of museum pieces, there is a replica of the Montreal Canadians' locker room for a real taste of hockey ambiance.   It also houses some interactive exhibits, and wanabe hockey stars can can show their shooting skills or even try a role of a goalie. There is also Collector's Corner which features various collection hockey items from stamps to coins and an area called the NHL Zone which was created in 2006to the tune of  $20 million to feature displays relating to the NHL.

There have been 244 hockey players, 98 builders and 15 referees or linesmen who have been inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Candidates for membership in the Hockey Hall of Fame are nominated by an 18-person selection committee. The committee consists of Hockey Hall of Fame members, hockey personnel and media personalities associated with the game; the membership is representative of "areas throughout the world where hockey is popular".  Go here for a long list of factoids.

While many of the Hall of Fame exhibits are dedicated to the NHL, there is a large section devoted to hockey leagues and players outside North America. On June 29, 1998, the World of Hockey Zone opened. Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mint, it is a 3,500 square feet (300 m2) area dedicated to international hockey, including World and Olympic competition and contains profiles on all IIHF member Countries.

In the mood for some Olympic Hockey factoids?  The HHoF has put together all the standings from past Olympics for Hockey.  Go here to peruse the winners from the past.

The Hockey Hall of Fame has secured, as an exclusive, the entire Olympic medals collection on loan from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. All 137 medals from every Summer and Winter Olympic Games, dating back from the first in 1896, will be on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame for a limited time. This marks the only time such a collection had ever been available for viewing outside The Olympic Museum.

Hockey Hall of Fame Official Website

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