The Play On street hockey tournament and festival is coming to Nanaimo the weekend of Sept. 17-18. (Photo courtesy Play On Canada)

The Play On street hockey tournament and festival is coming to Nanaimo the weekend of Sept. 17-18. (Photo courtesy Play On Canada)

Hockey players will take to the streets of downtown Nanaimo

Play On street hockey tournament set for Nanaimo this coming weekend, Sept. 17-18

Athletes and hockey fans will take to the streets next weekend in Nanaimo.

The ball is set to drop for the Play On street hockey tournament at Maffeo Sutton Park and other downtown Nanaimo locations this coming weekend, Sept. 17-18.

Teams of all ages will compete, with an entry fee of $49 per player and a maximum of nine players per team, for the free, family-friendly event.

Food trucks and vendors will be situated at Diana Krall Plaza and Commercial Street will be closed off for some playing surfaces as well, according to Doug Lynch, B.C. event director for non-profit Play On Canada.

“The biggest thing for our event is we want to introduce street hockey and community and kids and people back playing again,” he said. “So even if you’ve never played hockey before, come down and check it out. It’s very, very inclusive and we want kids starting to play, so maybe next year they want to play in the tournament themselves.”

There will be a celebrity game, with Vancouver Canucks alumni, and live music and interactive exhibits will complement the experience.

“We’ve got a play area … so kids can just play and whack a ball around without any structure,” Lynch said. “We’re going to have the Canucks Autism Network there with some sensory booths, we’re going to have other activations, it’s going to be a real festival experience.”

Scott Hill, Play On Canada executive chairman, said holding an event is much needed after restrictions the past two years due to COVID-19.

“I’m a father of seven kids that love to play sports,” he said. “I’ve seen the impacts of COVID on them and their friends. I think it’s well-documented that there has been an impact on sport registrations for pretty much every sport across Canada and I think the message we’re attempting to deliver is that it’s time to play for Canada again.”

The action begins Sept. 17.

“Basically, Saturday you play two or three games for the day and we then re-seed all the teams on Sunday and then it’s single-game elimination knockout,” he said.

The deadline for registration is Monday, Sept. 12. For more information, go to www.playon.ca.

READ ALSO: Donated hockey gear from Nanaimo helps Nunavut people



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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