The beginning of the NHL season is reason enough to throw a party.
And a party would be the best way to describe what will be happening Wednesday in downtown Toronto with the 2014 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off, the fourth edition of a public viewing party and music festival marking the start of a new hockey season that aims to allow as many people as possible to experience the opening game of the 2014-15 season between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET, TVA SPORTS, SN).
Along with musical performances by Canadian iconic rock band The Tragically Hip and country music artist Tim Hicks, the event's centerpiece will be the public viewing of the game in Dundas Square.
"The celebration of the game itself is really what it comes down to," said Brian Jennings, the NHL's Chief Marketing Officer. "We view it as a great opportunity to give back to the fans."
The 2014 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off will have a full day of events starting at noon Wednesday, with interactive activities and giveaways from League partners Molson Canadian, Bridgestone, Canadian Tire, Crest, Honda, Mondelez, NHL Auctions, Oh Henry!, OLG, Real Sports Apparel, Reebok-CCM, Rogers, Scotiabank, SiriusXM and Tim Hortons.
Maple Leafs alumni Wendel Clark, Joe Nieuwendyk and Darryl Sittler will hold photo and question and answer sessions with fans throughout the day. But the showstopper will be the game that marks the official debut of the NHL's new 12-year Canadian broadcast partnership with Rogers.
"Our new relationship with Rogers will really be coming out then, not only on Dundas and Yonge Street, but across the country with the launch of the Rogers broadcast to showcase their new studio and all of their innovations and on-air talent," Jennings said.
The party won't stop when the game ends, with the official 2014 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off after-party beginning at 10 p.m. at the EFS Nightclub.
The NHL first held its season-opening Face-Off event in Toronto in 2010, and it has since made stops in Winnipeg and Montreal before returning to Toronto this year. Slowly but surely, the event is becoming synonymous with the start of the NHL season and shows no sign of slowing down.
"When you look at what we started, with every year we've tried to build on it. We always try to aim higher," Jennings said. "When we conceived this, youthful, fun and certainly social were the tones we wanted to hit on. And I think we've achieved that."