The Hockey Hall of Fame, located in downtown Toronto’s Brookfield Place, is the ultimate hockey museum and hall of fame. Established in 1943, the HHOF began in Kingston, Ontario and later moved to the province’s capital, Toronto. It is home to tons of hockey/NHL memorabilia, most famously the Stanley cup itself! I visited the Hockey Hall of Fame last month with my uncle, and in this post I’ll be writing all about the famous attraction.
The HHOF is generally open from 10AM-5PM (click here for more info) for almost everyday of the year. General tickets (14-64) to the museum are $19CAD, youth tickets (4-13) are $13CAD, senior tickets (65+) are $15CAD, and children three and under can visit free. The HHOF is located within the Brookfield Place, a huge office complex, at the corner of Yonge and Front. The building is known for being home to the HOF, so the Tim Hortons located in the building is actually hockey themed and has a few mini hockey related displays scattered throughout it. Also located in the Brookfield Place is the Spirit of Hockey store, which is the HHOF’s official store that sells tons of hockey related merchandise.
Finding the entrance to the HHOF is actually quite tricky when you first arrive at the Brookfield Place – to get to the actual museum entrance, find the hallway shown above (middle), go down the escalators there, and make your way into the PATH where you’ll easily be able to spot the entrance to the HOF. Once you arrive at the entrance, you’ll be greeted with a nine foot tall statue of Gordie Howe, nicknamed “Mr. Hockey”.
Home of one of the world’s three Stanley Cups (the replica version), the great hall is the main pull of the hockey hall of fame. Nicknamed the Cathedral of Hockey, it is located within an old Bank of Montreal bank lobby. Along with the Stanley Cup, which visitors can touch and take photos with, the great hall also displays many other significant NHL trophies. Photos and biographies on each honoured member of the HOF, of which there are 392, surround the cup and other trophies.
Lord Stanley’s Vault
On the west side of the great hall you’ll find Lord Stanley’s Vault, which is home to even more notable hockey trophies. The Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the original Stanley Cup, is the highlight of the old bank vault. Also found in the vault are the old championship bands of the Stanley Cup, which used to surround the cup but were later removed to make room for new bands.
The first exhibit you see when you enter the HOF is ‘NHL Zone’, an area showcasing many and heirlooms from hockey’s long and interesting history. Significant pieces in this exhibit include all 14 of Jim Devellano’s championship rings, Jacques Plante’s famous goalie mask, Wayne Gretsky’s 92nd season goal scoring stick, Maurice Richard’s Order of Canada, and many more iconic artifacts.
A to-scale recreation of the Canadiens’ Dressing Room in the Montreal Forum, this neat replica is another one of the first exhibits you seen when you come into the HHOF. The stalls surrounding the room recognize some of the Montreal Canadiens’ best players to date, as well as show the evolution of hockey equipment through the years.
Focusing on the dynasties of hockey, or some of the most famous eras of some of the NHL’s most famous teams, the HOF’s ‘Stanley Cup Dynasties’ exhibit takes you on a trip through hockey history. The dynasties featured in this display include the Ottawa Senators of the 20s, the Toronto Maple Leafs (of course my favourite team!) of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, the Detroit Red Wings of the 50s, the Montreal Canadiens of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the New York Islanders of the 70s, and most recently, the Edmonton Oilers of the 80s and 90s. This exhibit can be found behind the Canadiens Dressing Room, or through the NHL Zone.
Turn left from the NHL Zone into the theatre/game area of the HHOF, and you’ll find ‘Hometown Hockey’, an exhibit commemorating hockey throughout North America. A cool section within this exhibit is ‘Changing Face of Hockey – Diversity in Our Game’, which recognizes minority’s fights for equality and recognition in hockey. This section recognizes Larry Kwong, the NHL’s first asian player (he recently passed, RIP); Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player; Monon Rheaume, the NHL’s first female player; and more – all of whom are very overlooked in hockey history today.
The HHOF’s ‘Upper Deck Collectors Corner’ displays a huge hockey collectible collection. Hundreds of one-of-a-kind and incredibly valuable hockey cards, tickets, apparel, and more decorate this impressive exhibit.
Displaying over 90 goalie masks spanning many decades, ‘the Mask’ is the HOF’s newest exhibit. It shows the fascinating evolution from the first goalie masks, which barely covered the face, to the goalie masks of today, which are obviously much more advanced. Noteworthy masks in the collection include those worn by Jacques Plants, Ed Belfour, and Johny Bower. Shown above (bottom left) is one of Mike Palmateer’s masks, who my dad and uncle actually grew up across the street from in Scarborough in the 70s!
Located throughout the right side of the HHOF, ‘World of Hockey’ is the largest exhibit in the entire museum. It celebrates hockey throughout the world, from Poland to Korea, and includes pieces from all 74 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) countries.
The HHOF has many interactive games/activities that visitors can have fun playing and trying out. These include NHLPA Game Time, where you can play shoot out and shut out games; TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone, where you can pretend to be a hockey broadcaster; EA Sports NHL18/ PS4 Game Kiosks, where you can play hockey video games; and finally, Shoot for a Cure Slapshot Trivia, where you can play hockey trivia.
Two theatres, which both play hockey related films, are located within the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Tim Hortons Theatre plays mostly highlight reels and behind the scenes hockey clips, and has showcases surrounding the theatre commemorating the hockey career of Tim Horton; while the TSN Theatre plays the film ‘Stanley’s Game Seven’, a 3D film about hockey and the Stanley Cup.
That’s all for my blog post about Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame! I hope you enjoyed. Have you ever visited the HHOF?
Thanks for reading.