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Canadian NHL dreams on reality TV

5/7/2004

MONTREAL - Will "You're cut" become the next reality TV buzz-phrase?

With the announcement yesterday of a new Canadian docu-drama which will give Canadians who feel they somehow missed their chance at hockey stardom a chance to make the NHL, such a phrase could move alongside Donald Trump's now famous "you're fired" in the popular lexicon.

Bell Canada yesterday announced Bell Making the Cut, a reality TV show searching for Canada's best unsigned hockey players.

In seven Canadian cities, thousands will take to the ice. The top 68 will attend a two week training camp led by legendary NHL coaches Scotty Bowman and Mike Keenan. Of those 68, only six players will earn the ultimate prize - an invitation to an NHL training camp.

The show will air this fall on the CBC and in French on RDS.

From the Tryout Challenge to Training Camp, cameras will follow each competitor's every move. And Bell technology and services will provide unique opportunities to follow the action and the trials and tribulations of players as they compete to make the cut and live the ultimate dream of playing professional hockey.

"Bell has a long-standing and devoted history of supporting hockey, Canada's traditional pastime. We are thrilled to bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talented hockey players and amateurs across the country," said Pierre Blouin, Bell's group president, consumer markets, in the news release. "We will provide Canadians unique ways to experience the excitement of Bell Making the Cut through Bell's innovative wireless, Internet and digital television services."

Beginning Friday, May 28th, 2004 in Toronto and Winnipeg, the Bell Making the Cut Tryout Challenge travels coast to coast to Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal where thousands of hockey hopefuls aged 19 and over are expected to participate. Tryouts details can be found on the Internet at www.makingthecut.bell.ca.

Once the tryouts are complete, coaches and scouts will select the top 68 players, who will then embark on a two-week intensive professional training camp led by Bowman and Keenan. Joining the coaches will be other former NHL players, professional assistant coaches, scouts, trainers and major league support personnel.

"I am confident that Bell Making the Cut will create an authentic and competitive hockey environment from which aspiring players will be given the opportunity to prove that all they needed was that final chance," said Keenan.

The show is being produced by independent production company Network Entertainment, which specializes in sports programming.

Training Camp will culminate in a best of three intra squad series. These games will provide coaches and scouts with the opportunity to evaluate the players' skills during game action. After the three game series, 12 players will be selected as Bell Making the Cut All Stars. The final drama will take place as the 12 All Stars face the elite coaching staff and the nation, to learn who will get a shot at the big leagues.

"After a lifetime of hockey I have come to realize that players, given the opportunity, can excel even beyond their expectations," said Bowman. "Bell Making the Cut will give the fans of the game the chance to witness how players get selected to the highest level of the game and what they have to demonstrate to the coaches and scouts in order to get the chance to live the dream."

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