The streets of Nanaimo’s waterfront were alive with the whizzing of orange balls and clacking of hockey sticks today with the Play On street hockey tournament.
Presented by non-profit Play On Canada, players of all ages faced off at Maffeo Sutton Park and Front and Commercial streets at street hockey rinks. The tournament began today, Sept. 17 and ends tomorrow, Sept. 18. Melissa Sbrega, event director, was happy with how the tournament is proceeding.
“The community has come down, supported it,” said Sbrega. “We’ve got kids, we’ve got adults playing, the [Nanaimo Clippers and Buccaneers] have been here all day. Coast Bastion has provided a practice rink, so we had some diverse ability children here playing on that rink and they were just doing it for free … we probably got at least 50 or 60 donated sticks to give away to kids that have never played before.”
Sbrega estimated 2,000 people attended Saturday and eagerly awaits the playoffs on Sunday.
“Today was regular round robin as the schedule is set out and we rank the teams and tomorrow is playoffs,” said Sbrega. “Everyone’s guaranteed at least one game tomorrow and then it’s single elimination.”
Among those playing, goalie Sutton Ranger whose team, The MVPs, defeated the Yetis 12-8 in Saturday afternoon Dekers division (9U) action at Maffeo Sutton.
When asked about the game, he said he and his team were “good.”
Sbrega hopes the event momentum gathered this year carries over to next year.
“It’s been a great time here and the community’s really rallied around it,” said Sbrega. “Hopefully next year, we’ll be bigger and better.”