Local sport leaders to revive London’s street hockey tourney
It was gone, but now it’s back
Got Game Sports, a local organization, is stepping up to host London’s massive annual street hockey tournament in May.
Carrying on an impressive tradition built up over the last 15 years, Got Game Sports is reviving London’s spring street hockey tournament after it was announced in late January by the previous organizers that the annual event would not operate in 2018.
Now, it will – under a new name, with new leadership, and with the support of thriving local ball hockey leagues in the region.
“There’s a huge army of streetballers who were disappointed to hear the event wasn’t going to happen this year,” said Greg Matthison, who is the captain of Got Game Sports. “I wanted to bring that energy and excitement back to the city.”
Matthison’s own 6-year-old son was one of those players disappointed by the news. He’s played in the tournament twice, and his disappointment was a big reason why Matthison decided to step up and fill the void. Now, his son – and countless other youth and adult hockey players who love the game – will get to experience London’s world class street hockey event this spring.
With the help of a pair of ball hockey leaders in the community, Matthison is now taking on the organization of the massive tournament in late May, which is attended by thousands of players, plus many more family members and fans. All around Victoria Park the streets will be blocked off, as usual, and street hockey rinks will be set up to accommodate the hundreds of youth, adult and corporate teams who will compete in various divisions.
“I’ve been fortunate to pull together two of the biggest names in ball hockey to join in this venture,” said Matthison, referring to Dick Price, who runs the London Minor Ball Hockey Association and the London Ball Hockey Association, and Chad Asselstine, who has been a key manager with Ball Hockey International. “These guys have managed many large hockey events in the past, and they’ve been key players in the growth of local ball hockey.”
The Got Game Street Hockey Tournament will be similar in many ways to the former annual tournament, as players of all ages will take over the streets around Victoria Park for exciting ball hockey action. Matthison is also adding a Sports & Activity Expo, which will feature vendors from various sporting and activity-based organizations.
“They’ll have booths and be able to provide attendees with in- formation and let them experience their sport,” Matthison said. “And there will be live demonstrations. It’s a great way to introduce people – young, old and in between – to different sports and connect them with health living organizations in our community.”
But the main event, of course, will be the world class street hockey tournament. And Matthison says he’s thrilled to be able to carry on the tradition.
“The event is full of energy and excitement, as players from all over come out to play Canada’s game, in its most basic form,” said Matthison. “That energy was gone, but now it’s back, and I’m excited for what’s in store this spring.”