Lo­cal sport lea­ders to re­vi­ve Lon­don’s street hoc­key tour­ney

It was go­ne, but now it’s back

La Jornada (Canada) - - MUNDO -

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.”

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