It’s about time! Yes, the Play On! 4 on 4 street hockey tournament is finally coming to my home town of Kelowna. This Saturday and Sunday (May 15th and 16th) some 600 street hockey players from Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and beyond will descend on Water St. and Sunset Dr. for a weekend of fun yet intense ball hockey action.
Though I live in Kelowna, I’ve been a regular participant in the Vancouver Play On! tournaments over the years, playing in 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009. Each and every time the tournament has been well run and my teammates and I have had an absolute blast. Last year Play On! gained the sponsorship of Hockey Night in Canada and its popularity exploded. There were in the neighborhood of 300 teams competing in last year’s Vancouver tournament.
As much fun as we’ve had on those road trips, we’ve always lamented the fact that Play On! hadn’t come to Kelowna. Having played in local leagues for the past decade I knew how much dedication there is to the sport here, and I knew that if they could work things out with the City of Kelowna that it would be a great venue for their tournament.
I finally got my wish as earlier this year it was announced that Play On! would be coming to our fair city for the first time ever. According to a press release on the Play On! website a total of 90 teams have signed up for the Kelowna tourney. Naturally, we’ve entered a team of our own and are looking forward to trying to capture our first Play On! title on our home streets – a feat we’ve never managed in Vancouver (despite some great runs).
So, if you are in the downtown area this weekend definitely stop by Prospera Place and check out the action. With multiple divisions spread across several rinks there will be no shortage of hockey action for spectators to enjoy through the entire weekend. Pull up a lawn chair and cheer on the young kids in the 9 and under Deker’s Division, or marvel at the skills of some of the best ball hockey players in British Columbia in the men’s Elite Division, where a spot in next February’s National Championships in Victoria will be on the line. For those wanting to do a little celebrity stalking there will be a celebrity game at noon Saturday at rink #1. A lot of NHL players summer in the Okanagan Valley so don’t be surprised to see one or two show up to take part in the event.
It is supposed to be hot and sunny this weekend, so whether you are a player or a spectator it will be a beautiful couple of days down by the waterfront. The action starts at 8:00 AM sharp on Saturday morning. Come on down and check it out!