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Rogers Hometown Hockey weekend officially began Friday night with a skating event at 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

A film crew from Rogers Sportsnet was there to capture members of the military base, and their families, out for a skate on the outdoor rink located in Bushell Park.

Hometown Hockey co-host Tara Slone recorded a feature that will air during Sportsnet's coverage of the event this weekend, and she was joined at the rink by former NHL great Dave "Tiger" Williams, who will be featured through the weekend at autograph sessions and other events.

Downtown Moose Jaw will be the site of the two-day hockey festival Saturday and Sunday, but Friday night was about military members getting to meet the celebrities.

Sgt. Matthew Slote is originally from North Bay, Ontario and brought along his wife and four daughters to meet the 62-year-old Williams.  tigerautographresizeSgt. Matthew Slote and daughter Sadie watch as Williams signs autographs for them

"It was awesome," Slote, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, said of the experience. "He's a little before my time but he's quite the legend and he took time to sign autographs for me."

Not only did Williams sign some old hockey pictures, Tiger also helped Slote's 8-year old daughter Arabella take her skates off, chatting with her the whole time.  

For Colonel Dennis O'Reilly, 15 Wing Base Commander, Friday was the second time he has seen Williams in a hockey ambassador role recently. 

"He came to Operation Impact in Kuwait where we were serving, I think it was spring of 2015, with a bunch of other prominent Canadians as part of a morale initiative," O'Reilly remembered. 

"It was really touching and it ended with all of the sports celebrities playing hockey against the troops."

O'Reilly, who said he was unable to play in the game because he was on duty, explained the game was played on ground "the width of a two-lane road but regulation length (200 feet)."

 The Hometown Hockey festivities officially begin at noon Saturday in downtown Moose Jaw from High St. south to Manitoba St.  For the list of events, click here. 

tigerhelpswithskateresizeWilliams helps Arabella Slote with her skates at the Bushell Park ice shack


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