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Centennial Classic

Centennial Classic postcard

NHL.com Editor in Chief Bill Price checks out Fan Arena, The PreGame

by Bill Price @BillPriceNHL / NHL.com Editor in Chief

TORONTO -- For the second time in three months, I'm in Toronto for a big hockey event.

In September it was the World Cup of Hockey 2016, and now I'm here for the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Exhibition Stadium on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).

I really enjoy this city, despite not being able to find the Orange Bowl on my hotel TV on Friday.

If you are a hockey fan who lives here year-round, it's been some 2016.

In addition to the World Cup, Centennial Classic and the play of Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs, Toronto fans have been treated to the Fan Village at the World Cup and The PreGame, which is the official tailgate party of the Centennial Classic.

It was crowded about an hour before the 2017 Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game on Saturday, with big lines for free coffee from Tim Hortons (imagine what that line will be like Sunday morning), the Ticketmaster Money Machine, and the highlight of the PreGame, the NHL Fan Arena.

On line for the museum truck portion of the Fan Arena was Jonathan Lake, 59, who was wearing an old-time goalie mask that he's owned since he was 8.

"This is phenomenal," said Lake, who said his favorite player is Johnny Bower. "It's really good to see this celebration."

The weather up here is perfect for an outdoor game. It's cold and crisp but not unbearable. I had to laugh this morning when NHL.com writer Tim Campbell, who is from Winnipeg, complained about the sun being out.

After we are done at the Alumni Game, we have the big NHL New Year's Eve party, which will feature a set from Canada-born rocker Bryan Adams. My money is on him playing "Summer of '69" at midnight, but "Heaven" also is a possibility.

Should be fun. Happy New Year to everyone.

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