The highlight of my trip to Toronto was my Mecca, the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s located at Brookfield Place, an office complex consisting of two skyscrapers and the historic Bank of Montreal building. The complex is known for its atrium designed by Santiago Calatrava. The Spirit of Hockey store, featuring official Hockey Hall of Fame memorabilia and licensed NHL products, is located off the atrium.
The entrance to the Hockey Hall of Fame is in the lower concourse of Brookfield Place. Adult admission is CAD$18 (as of September 2016). I was given a hockey card with a piece of a game used jersey as a gift.
I spent a good 3 hours perusing the exhibits and drooling over historic game-used memorabilia. The first section I visited featured displays of some of the best to ever play the game, including Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Maurice Richard, and the list goes on and on.
The players weren’t limited to NHL players. Some Russian greats, such as Vladislav Tretiak, were also included.
Next, I quickly looked at a case in which the jerseys of all current NHL captains were on display.
From there, I went to one of my favorite sections, a replica of the Montréal Canadiens dressing room with jerseys and equipment from several Habs greats.
Before I enjoyed a short film, I looked through displays on every NHL team and watched people try their luck at some of the interactive exhibits available.
The trophy room was my next stop. This is where the face of every member of the Hockey Hall of Fame is displayed along with all of the NHL trophies. The Hall of Fame induction book is also there.
Some of the trophies for individual awards I saw included the Hart Trophy (MVP), the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), the Art Ross Trophy (points leader), and the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP). Many more were on display.
The crown jewel of the collection is the original Stanley Cup and the retired rings that have been removed for space over the years. There are actually three Stanley Cups: the original on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame (1892) that was awarded to the champions until 1970; the Presentation Cup that was created in 1963 after the original became too fragile; and the Replica Cup (1993) that stands in at the Hockey Hall of Fame when the Presentation Cup isn’t available.
I had to settle for the Replica Cup during my visit, but being next to it again as a season ticket holder for the 2013 champion Blackhawks was still a great feeling.
The final gallery I visited dealt with international hockey. There were displays with jerseys of different national teams from all over the world – many I would never have imagined to have ice let alone a hockey team. I also enjoyed a section on the IIHF World Junior Championships.
Other displays featured Olympic hockey teams. The dominating Soviet teams of the 1970s and the USA’s 1980 Miracle on Ice stuck out to me, as well as a jersey from the 1936 Great Britain gold medal winning team. Britain and Olympic gold in hockey? Who knew!?