The National Hockey League’s 2011-12 regular season will see the curtain raised with a major launch centred right here in Winnipeg Oct. 6.

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The National Hockey League’s 2011-12 regular season will see the curtain raised with a major launch centred right here in Winnipeg Oct. 6.

Sources have told the Free Press the season debut – dubbed ‘NHL Face-Off’ -- will include a live network broadcast component from The Forks on opening night as the campaign begins with the Habs in Toronto to face the Maple Leafs (6 p.m.) and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Vancouver to meet the Canucks (9 p.m.)

Both those games are on CBC with lone other game, featuring the Philadelphia Flyers travelling to Boston to face the Stanley-Cup champion Bruins, to be televised on Versus.

The festivities will all be part of a four-day build-up to the Jets’ first contest at MTS Centre against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, Oct. 9, televised nationally on CBC with the puck dropping at 4 p.m.

Word is the party in Winnipeg will include a ‘major Canadian concert act,’ with one of the bands rumoured to be Nickelback.

The NHL ran a similar campaign in past seasons with last year’s ‘NHL Face-Off’ including an entertainment festival in Toronto that featured live musical performances, interactive hockey-skills games, giveaways, appearances by former NHL players, merchandise tents and live game broadcasts on giant video screens.

As well, the season opens with four NHL teams – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers – making their 2011-12 debuts in Europe. On Oct. 7 the Kings and Rangers meet in Stockholm with the Sabres and Ducks in Helsinki. On Saturday, the Ducks face the Rangers in Berlin, marking the first NHL game ever in Germany.