Skate with former NHL greats at Diamond Estates Saturday

NOTE: Diamond Estates is holding a ‘Skate with the Greats’ at the winery with
NHL Alumni helping to officially open the outdoor skating rink at the Niagara-on-the-Lake winery. Here is the news release on the event.

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – Visitors will be able to enjoy a hat trick of distinctly Canadian offerings at an upcoming event at one of Ontario’s leading winemaking facilities.

Hockey stars, skating and fine Niagara wines will be on the menu Saturday, Jan. 21 when Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd. invites visitors to “Skate with the Greats” at its Niagara-on-the-Lake property.

Hat-Trick-Main-ImageFormer pros that used to play Canada’s favourite sport in the NHL will be on hand at the winery with their skates laced up to help officially open Diamond Estates’ new outdoor skating rink. The rink — which will be open throughout the season — will allow guests to lace up their blades and get in the spirit of winter while sampling some of Niagara’s world-renowned wine & Icewines, including Diamond Estates’ hockey-themed Hat Trick red & white wines.

The former stars include Mark Napier Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadians & Edmonton Oilers, 60 & 50 goal scorer Dennis Maruk with the Washington Capitals and also played for the Minnisota North Stars, California Seals & Cleveland Barons, fan favourite Lou Franceschetti formerly of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres, Steve Ludzik who played eight seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and  Niagara’s own Paul Laus who played nine seasons with the Florida Panthers making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.

“Niagara is an amazing place to explore no matter what the season,” says Murray Marshall, President and CEO of Diamond Estates. “What better way to make the most of winter than by going for an outdoor skate surrounded by beautiful vineyards and tasting some of the best wines you can find”.

Several members of the NHL Alumni Association are slated to attend the rink’s opening ceremony Saturday, January 21 from 2-4 p.m. The retired pros will also be testing out Hat Trick Red and Hat Trick White — the two new wines launched by Diamond Estates in a partnership with the NHL Alumni Association.

Each Hat Trick wine has been crafted in collaboration between former NHL stars and Diamond Estates winemakers. Both VQA vintages are made from 100% Ontario grapes and combine three varietals — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz in Hat Trick Red and Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Chardonnay in Hat Trick White.

“$0.50 from each bottle of Hat Trick sold will go right to the NHL Alumni Association to support charitable causes and promote the game of hockey,” Murray says.

Organizers are hopeful Mother Nature cooperates so the rink’s ice surface is good for skating, but the Jan. 21 opening event will go ahead as scheduled freeze or thaw.

Hot chocolate and other refreshments will be available for the whole family and Gorilla Cheese will be on hand, grilling up Hat Trick inspired three-cheese sandwiches.

Diamond Estates is asking guests to bring non-perishable food items, which will be donated to a local food bank.

Skating on the rink will be complimentary throughout the winter. The rink, located behind Diamond Estates’ Wine Boutique and tasting cabin on 1067 Niagara Stone Rd., will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter from 11 a.m. to dark, weather permitting.

The “Skate with the Greats” event coincides with the Niagara Icewine Festival, which runs from Jan. 13-29, including the street festival on Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Jan. 21-22.


Wines In Niagara notes on the new Hat Trick wines:

Hat Trick White 2009 and Red 2010 ($13, LCBO late January or winery now) — The white version of Hat Trick (86 points) is a blend of Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Riesling with a nose and palate of fresh citrus, apple and tropical fruit in a dry and crisp style. The Hat Trick Red (85 points) has a ripe berry nose with a touch of spice. It’s juicy and ripe on the palate with a smoky note on the finish.