NEW YORK/TORONTO -- With the incomparable Wayne Gretzky serving as the official ambassador, the National Hockey League will venerate its history, celebrate its present and anticipate its future with a year-long Centennial celebration in 2017.
The Centennial celebration will commence on January 1, 2017, in Toronto with the NHL Centennial Classic™ outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at BMO Field. It will witness the unveiling of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles Jan 25-27. And it will visit every NHL market and dozens of other local hockey communities during a 12-month festival of events and content initiatives culminating with the anniversary of the League's founding on Nov. 26 and first games on Dec. 19.
Gretzky, the League's all-time leading scorer and holder of dozens of NHL records, will make appearances at various events throughout the calendar year in his role as Centennial Ambassador.
"A century of great players, great plays and great moments deserves a year-long celebration, and we invite everyone to join our party in 2017," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We are delighted that Wayne Gretzky -- whose spectacular contributions on the ice matched his immeasurable graciousness and popularity off the ice -- will serve as our Centennial's official ambassador as we honor all the drama, suspense, excitement and memories that have thrilled the best fans in sports for generations."
"I am honored to serve as the NHL's Centennial Ambassador and to help the League celebrate its first 100 years," Wayne Gretzky said. "Anyone who knows me knows that I have long revered the history of our game and the players, coaches and executives who built the League before I was fortunate enough to enter it. And it is no secret that I remain an avid fan who watches games every night and marvels at the young players who are leading the greatest sport in the world into the League's next century.
"As I've said countless times, I owe just about everything I now have in my life to the game of hockey and the National Hockey League. And I am thrilled to spend the next year celebrating its past, present and future with hockey fans around the world."
Video: A century of hockey: 100 years of the NHL
2017 NHL CENTENNIAL CALENDAR OF CELEBRATIONS
Jan. - Dec. -- NHL Centennial Truck Tour
Jan. - Dec. -- NHL Time Capsule
Jan. 1 -- NHL Centennial Classic™ (Toronto, Ont.)
Jan. 2 -- Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (Pasadena, CA)
Jan. 2, 2017 -- Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (St. Louis, MO)
Jan. 27-29, 2017 -- NHL® All-Star (Los Angeles, CA)
Feb. 25, 2017 -- Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ (Pittsburgh, PA)
Mar. 15-18 -- Stanley Cup® 125th Anniversary Celebrations (Ottawa, Ont.)
June 2017 -- NHL Awards™ (Las Vegas, NV)
Jun. 23-24 -- 2017 NHL Draft™ (Chicago, IL)
Nov. 26 -- NHL 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the League
Dec. 19 -- NHL 100th Anniversary of the First Games Played
The Centennial celebrations will culminate with special events in the League's birthplace, Montreal, and the site of the League's first-ever game - Ottawa, in November and December, respectively. Details on these events will be announced at a later date.
ABOUT THE 2017 NHL CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS
NHL Centennial Truck Tour (January - December, 2017; all NHL markets + other local communities)
The Centennial will reach and engage each NHL market with a traveling Truck Tour. The Centennial Tour footprint will consist of three main components: a 53-foot museum truck that includes an interactive interior with original video content, exclusive memorabilia, and fan activations; a second 53-foot trailer with giant video screen for viewing parties and stage for player and alumni appearances; and a pop-up synthetic rink for youth hockey games and clinics. The Tour will launch on January 1 at the NHL Centennial Classic™ in Toronto and travel across North America during the year.
NHL Centennial Classic™ (Sunday, Jan. 1, 3:00 p.m. ET, BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.)
To launch the 2017 Centennial celebrations, the League will host an outdoor game at BMO Field featuring an Original Six™ match-up between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs; and the 100 Greatest Players from the NHL's early years (1917-1967) will be unveiled and honored in a special ceremony.
Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (Monday, Jan. 2; Pasadena, CA)
The League and the Los Angeles Kings - who are celebrating their 50th anniversary - will have a hockey-themed float in the renowned Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. The float will air during NBC's Rose Parade coverage leading into the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.
100 Greatest NHL Players and Gala (January, 2017)
A blue ribbon panel of distinguished members from across the hockey community - including former and current executives, media members, and NHL alumni - have voted for the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history. Following the initial unveiling of the 100 Greatest Players from the NHL's early years (1917-1966) at the NHL Centennial Classic™, the remaining players will be unveiled at a special ceremony in Los Angeles during NHL All-Star weekend. Current day all-stars will be joined by the all-time greats in Los Angeles for the largest gathering of NHL stars in one location in League history.
Stanley Cup Celebrations (March 15-18, 2017; Ottawa, Ont.)
Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the donation of the Stanley Cup® by Lord Stanley of Preston, the League will support the Ottawa Senators in collaboration with 'Canada 150' with special events commemorating the most revered trophy in all sports. For more information visit Senators.NHL.com.
Documentaries (March 2017; November 2017)
A Stanley Cup® documentary chronicling the rich and unique history of the iconic trophy will be released during the celebrations in Ottawa. Following that, an overarching documentary covering the key moments and milestones in the League's 100-year history will be released during the League's 100th birthday celebrations in November.
100 Iconic NHL Moments (Fall, 2017)
The most iconic moments - goals, games, the odd and unusual, and seminal events in history will be unveiled in Fall, 2017.
NHL Time Capsule (January - December, 2017)
Each day, milestones throughout the League's 100-year history will be shared with fans across all platforms - online, broadcast, and social - with original stories and videos.