By Susan O'Neill Posted February 25, 2010, 3:52 PM EST
TORONTO Dubbed the epicentre of hockey during the Games, Molson Canadian Hockey House has been offering hockey fans from around the world the chance to experience Olympic hockey in true Canadian fashion since the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games got under way on February 12. The 81,000-square-foot entertainment and hospitality pavilion, located at Concord Place, is sponsored by Molson Canadian, Hockey Canada, and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
“Other houses have focused on countries. Ours is the first of its kind to be focused on a sport,” said Jared Florence, a producer with VisionCo., the Toronto-based marketing and communications company (founded by Jordan Bitove) that designed the venue. “From the programing component, to the location, to what we've got going in there [in terms of equipment], it's like the ultimate cathedral of hockey,” Florence said.
Adjacent to Canada Hockey Place—the site of the men's and women's ice hockey tournaments—the pavilion houses a fan zone (access passes start at $99) where crowds gather to watch hockey games, a Team Canada family room, and V.I.P. lounges for each of the sponsors. “It's bigger than life. There are seven different pavilions inside the venue,” said Florence, who called on Luxe Rentals to provide furnishings.
“The challenge was to make [the sponsor lounges] look like small intimate rooms and on the other side [in the fan zone] to take what is essentially a giant beer hall and make it not look like a giant beer hall,” said Brian Harris of Luxe. “We had to create a very versatile space.” The company filled the venue with items like modular sofas, Moooi chandeliers, Ghost chairs, and Plexiglass tables. For the Hockey Canada space, Luxe created logoed carpets designed to look like the surface of an ice rink.
The Look Company, which specializes in wide format digital fabric printing, dressed more than 50,000 square feet of the venue with banners and wall wraps bearing the images of Canadian hockey legends like Wayne Gretzky, Paul Henderson, and Doug Gilmour. Barco Visual Solutions Inc. handled all of the lighting and supplied multiple high definition screens for the venue, some of which are 24 feet wide by 15 feet high.
“We have the best of the best and the newest and coolest products and technology being showcased at Hockey House,” Florence said. The pavilion took three months to construct and will take another to dismantle.
VisionCo. called on Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies to serve as the executive director of entertainment for the venue, which has hosted performances by the likes of Tom Cochrane, Sam Roberts, and Colin James as well as appearances by Canadian gold medal winners Maëlle Ricker (snowboard cross) and Alexandre Bilodeau (moguls). In addition to the nightly entertainment, the venue, which holds 3,000, has also hosted special celebrations including Wayne Gretzky Day and Paint the Town Red Day. The Fan 590's Bob McCowan broadcasts live daily and veteran hockey broadcaster Christine Simpson conducts daily interviews with hockey stars and NHL alumni.