TORONTO -- They were flocking to this city's Distillery District east of downtown in the late afternoon, pouring into a fan festival like none hockey has seen.
On Friday, the Scotiabank World Cup of Hockey Fan Village served up music, food, drink, games, contests and giveaways to a near-capacity crowd of 13,486. Rinse and repeat, it will be more of the same through the entire tournament that begins Saturday with two games at Air Canada Centre.
Video: Thousands gather for the Pepsi Premiere Party
The curtain was lifted Friday for the Pepsi World Cup of Hockey Premiere Party, featuring the big-stage introduction of the eight teams that will compete for the championship.
Under perfect skies, Canada's Sam Roberts Band first pounded out two sets, with the introduction of the teams held around a performance by 17-year-old singer/songwriter Daya. Finally, the Grammy-nominated band The Killers took the stage to entertain and light up the night for the high-energy crowd..
Hockey icon Paul Henderson, who 44 years ago this month scored three consecutive game-winning goals in Canada's victory against the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series, also was on hand.
Video: Pepsi Premiere Party kicks off World Cup of Hockey
Henderson, most famous for scoring the clincher with 34 seconds left in decisive Game 8 in Moscow, brought a new 32-pound World Cup trophy onto the stage, introduced by Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Much of the evening was emceed by Canadian actor and hockey fan Jay Baruchel, along with broadcasters Ron MacLean and Barry Melrose, with fans flocking around the stage and spilling all around the vast Fan Village site.
Much more about the Fan Village can be found at wch2016.com/fanvillage. Fans are invited to join the conversation by using the official hashtag #WCH2016.
Sam Roberts band performs
The Killers perform