Boys in the Dominican Republic hone their hitting skills with stickball, youngsters in the U.K. play soccer in the streets, and kids in Canada will play hockey on everything from a frozen pond, to a tennis court to a cul de sac.
So a ball hockey tournament was considered a great fit for the Canada Day celebrations in Pitt Meadows.
“This is great, I just wish there were more teams,” said Chase Pedersen. “They’ve got to get the word out.”
His team, the Puck Buddies, were the only one in their Major age class, so they were bumped up to the older Open class. They suffered an 8-7 loss in their first game.
Goaltender Curtis Rodgerson was sweating like Roberto Luongo after overtime. He of course wanted full protection from that little orange ball. It closely replicates a puck for both ease of stickhandling and pain inflicted on shot blockers. So, Pedersen busted out full hockey gear, despite the temperatures which were nudging up into the 30 C range even in the morning.
On the little playing surface a shooter could score from his own end of the “rink,” so he had a lot of shots to take his focus off the sweltering heat.
Thomas Hong was undaunted by the prospect of playing three half-hour games on one of the hottest days of the year.
“It’s a fun thing, so you don’t have to go that hard.”
Their team were the default winners of the Major Division, and as such will have their names engraved on a trophy that will be on display at event sponsor Bill’s Skate Shop. There will also be cups for the other divisional champions: Fourth Line Grinders (Open), Pickles (Minor) and Jets (Pee Wee).
Hanna Vorlicek organized the event, which drew 12 teams in its first year being held on Canada Day. It was also the first year that it was set up as a three-on-three event.
She said it was a great compliment for the Athletes in Kind run, and the other Canada Day entertainment and ceremonies in Pitt Meadows, and the hockey players all agreed it is a great idea.
“Everybody was happy, and everyone was totally into coming back next year.”