A street hockey festival is coming to Cloverdale.
Play On! Canada, a not-for-profit sport organization, will host the event in downtown Cloverdale Sept. 24-25 and registration is now open. Both 176th and 176A Streets, in between 56A and 58A Avenues, will be transformed into a multitude of street hockey rinks.
The not-for-profit has partnered with the City of Surrey and the Cloverdale BIA, among others, to bring the event to town.
“We’re now promoting registrations,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA. “It’s their event, but the BIA is a partner.”
Orazietti said in terms of layout for the festival, 176A will have more rinks than 176th.
“The bulk of the arenas will be on 176A Street,” he said. “They will wrap around at 58A. They’ll start at the library and head north to 58A. That whole road will be rinks.”
Orazietti said 58 Avenue will remain open and both city parking lots will be accessible from the alleyways. He added there will likely be food trucks near 58 Avenue and 176A.
He said there is also a plan to get some VIPs down to hangout and meet people, former NHLers and other hockey stars.
He noted 176th will only be partially closed, as there will be two rinks set up in front of the BIA and Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce office with one or two playing areas set up on the next block, south of 57 Avenue.
“The rinks on 176th Street will be higher profile, so we’re looking at putting in some bleachers,” he added. “The idea is the main rinks will have one section of seating each.”
Orazietti said there’ll be dozens of rinks, vendors, and one or two street-side stages that will feature live music.
Play On! Canada has so far hosted street hockey festivals in Calgary (July 30-31), Windsor (Aug. 6-7), Mississauga (Aug. 13-14), and Ottawa (Aug. 20-21)—with five more festivals to come: Moncton (Aug. 27-28), Edmonton (Sept. 10-11), Nanaimo (Sept. 17-18), Cloverdale (Sept. 24-25), and Kelowna (Oct. 1-2).
Play On! Canada’s street hockey festivals offer play that covers all ages and skill levels. Minor divisions for the two-day tournament start at U7 and go up to U17, while adult divisions include beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite levels. There are also Legends (over 35) and Masters (over 45) divisions.
Registration costs $49 for the weekend and players will need running shoes and a hockey stick.
Melissa Sbrega, an event director for the Cloverdale tournament, said Play On! will also host a “Canadian Newcomers” clinic at some point over the weekend. The clinic’s aim is to give new Canadians a chance to try hockey for the first time.
“We just did it in Ottawa and it was very well received,” Sbrega told the Cloverdale Reporter.
According to Toronto-based Hockey 4 Youth, 71 per cent of newcomers to Canada have interest in Hockey, but only 1 per cent of them actually get a chance to play.
As for the festival, Orazietti, said many people he’s spoken too are excited about it.
“People are burned out,” he said. “They want to move on from this pandemic. They want to start enjoying life again. They see this festival as a way to get back to normal. So, hopefully, this festival can do that.”
To register as a player, fan, referee, volunteer, business partner, or vendor, visit playon.ca/events. Registration closes at midnight on Monday, Sept. 19.