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Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame Is Worth a Visit

With the highest attendance of all the sports halls of fame, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a magnet for sports lovers around the world. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, more than 300,000 people flock to this cathedral of hockey knowledge every year. 

The Hockey of Hall of Fame holds not only the greatest trophies in hockey, including the Stanley Cup, but also many artifacts, most of which are held in storage until being rotated. In addition, the Gordie Howe/Wayne Gretzky Exhibit opened this past March to honor two of the biggest legends in the sport—Mr. Hockey and the Great One.  

A large statue of Mr. Hockey himself greets you when you arrive at the Hall. Close to the entrance is the Honda NHL Zone which features the new Howe/Gretzky exhibit. On display is everything from their jerseys to sticks and pucks, as well as their childhood records. Six- and 12-minute documentaries play in the back about Howe and Gretzky, respectively.  

On the second floor, you will find the Esso Great Hall, a beautiful room with a vaulted, stained glass ceiling, and the home of Stanley Cup. The room holds all the hockey trophies that are presented at the NHL Awards including the “Rocket” Richard, Art Ross, Vezina, Hart, and Calder.  

Did you know that there is more than one Stanley Cup? There are actually three: the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the Presentation Cup, and a replica of the Presentation Cup. The Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup is the original Stanley Cup and is now stored in Lord Stanley’s vault in the Great Hall. The Presentation Cup is the Stanley Cup that travels with the Keepers of the Cup, mostly famously Phil “White Gloves” Pritchard. Each season's champions pass it around for 100 days before their names are added. The replica is the one on display in the Great Room, and you can get a picture with this Cup!   

Another cool section is that of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which features teams from all over the world, including India and the United Arab Emirates. On the back wall, there is a huge screen that allows you to pick a country that is part of IIHF and it will show you that country’s greatest hockey moments. Women’s hockey is also represented at the Hall of Fame. And "Home Town Hockey" explores the American Hockey League and other junior leagues in North America. If you love hockey masks and cards you will enjoy the Collector’s Corner, where you can see the Hall's vast collection. Behind that section is a wall that features the greatest dynasties, such as the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers.

Lastly, everyone loves the interactive section. Jack, 13, from Dallas, TX says, “I like how it’s just so much fun because I've visited some of the other halls of fame they are just not as cool as this one.” Adrian, 14, from Ottawa, ON, agrees that the best parts of the Hockey Hall of Fame are the “activities where you get to shoot and save pucks” against some of the NHL’s best players, like Sidney Crosby and Carey Price. Another interactive activity is the TSN newsroom, where you can commentate like a real sports reporter. 

The Hockey Hall of Fame is open almost year-round and the 2019 induction will be held on November 15–18. Before you leave, you can load up on all your favorite team’s merchandise from the Spirit of Hockey store.  

Just in case you visit after hours, there is a small exhibit outside the Spirit of Hockey store. You can also take pictures with Mr. Hockey and the exterior statues. Lastly, don’t forget to look at the upper windows to see if you can spot Dorothy the ghost!

Photo credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images