The scrape and slap of plastic blades on asphalt will echo through concrete viaduct columns in the shadow of GM Place this weekend as 1,500 participants get set to face-off in B.C.’s largest street-hockey tournament.
More than 180 teams have signed up for the annual Play On! four-on-four tournament.
Organizer Chris Lee said he expects 250 to 300 teams will be on board when registration closes Wednesday evening.
“That’s the thing about street hockey,” said Carlo Diano, a project manager with the event. “Almost everyone has played it growing up here.”
The tournament will take place on 25 street ‘rinks’ in a seven-block horseshoe surrounding Andy Livingstone Park on Abbott, Keefer and Quebec streets.
The main rink and festival area will be at GM Place’s north concourse.
The tournament began six years ago in London, Ont., and has expanded to 12 cities across Canada.
Winners of the elite division in each city will be entered into a championship tournament that will be featured on CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada festivities.
But, while the tournament draws talented players, there is a division and category for everybody regardless of skill and age, Lee said.
“With street hockey,” Diano added, “pretty much anyone can play it well given a few hours on the street with a ball.”
Players should have their own sticks and goalie equipment. Mullets are optional.