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Hockey Canada introduces new jersey, cross-country tour to mark 100th anniversary

A commemorative jersey is pictured at Hockey Canada's news conference in Toronto on Thursday, June 26, 2014 to launch their 100th anniversary celebration plans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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A commemorative jersey is pictured at Hockey Canada's news conference in Toronto on Thursday, June 26, 2014 to launch their 100th anniversary celebration plans. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - Canada's hockey teams are getting a new look next season.

Hockey Canada unveiled new a jersey that will be worn by the men's, women's and sledge hockey teams as the organization marks its 100th anniversary.

Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith introduced the jersey Wednesday at Toronto's MasterCard Centre.

"It's a high performance jersey," Smith said. "It allows out teams to pursue goal medals, of which we plan on bringing a few more home next year."

The new jersey, developed in partnership with Nike, uses traditional red, white and black Hockey Canada colours. It features the Hockey Canada stickman logo along with the 100th anniversary logo on its left chest areas. The sleeves have two stripes each on their upper arms.

"Canada" is spelled diagonally on the front of the jersey, a style that makes a return after more than 40 years.

"There are some historical elements to this that you might be able to associate with other jerseys that have been worn over the last 100 years," Smith said.

The jersey unveiling was part of a Hockey Canada event to kick off a cross-country exhibition tour.

It features a 1,900 square metre caravan with interactive exhibits, including a timeline of hockey milestones. It also includes a year-round artificial surface rink and a five-by-three-metre outdoor video screen.

The tour will officially begin in Ottawa July 1, and will is expected to visit 100 communities before ending next May.

Thirteen communities have been scheduled to date: Toronto, Ottawa, Russell, Ont.; Kenora, Ont.; Kitchener, Ont.; Thunder Bay, Ont.; Montreal, Brossard, Que.; Sherbrooke, Que.; Calgary; Edmonton; Red Deer, Alta.; and Kamloops, B.C.

The tour is partially funded by $3 million from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage through its Commemorate Canada Program. Smith estimated the government funding comprises more than half of the tour's budget.

Hockey Canada chairman Jim Hornell said the 100th anniversary tour has four main goals.

"Hockey Canada wants Canadians to play the game. We want to engage communities," he said. "We want to leave a legacy, and we want to educate Canadians about our great game."

Hockey Canada was officially formed in 1968 by the federal government, but it traces its roots to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association founded in 1914. The two organizations merged in 1994.

Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, who represented Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover at the event, said the national hockey teams that won gold medals at the past two Winter Olympics are role models for all Canadians.

"National celebrations like this bring us together, strengthen communities, and help Canadians take pride in the citizenship we all share," he said.

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