No NHL game on Parliament Hill next year

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OTTAWA – Canada’s 150th birthday celebration will not include an outdoor National Hockey League game on Parliament Hill.

The press secretary for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement that a full-stadium NHL game on the Hill was not considered feasible, and that other options are being considered to honour the nation’s milestone birthday.

The NHL and Ottawa Senators hockey club had been pushing for the game, which would have also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the league and 25th birthday of the team.

In the statement, however, the Heritage Ministry said the government worked with partners in the public and private sectors over the past 18 months and concluded that installing a temporary rink would disrupt everyday business on Parliament Hill and would create security and public access issues.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson issued a statement late Friday saying he plans to meet with the owners of the Ottawa Senators to see if there is another way of having an outdoor game.

“Recreating an outdoor game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens would mark the 100th anniversary of the very first NHL game, which took place in Ottawa in December 1917 between these two teams,” Watson said in the statement.

“This is a significant milestone for our country and our national game, and I still believe it should be properly celebrated in our nation’s capital.”