Times-Colonist sportswriter Jack Knox recently wrote: "Peter Gzowski called hockey the 'game of our lives.' He was almost right. Ice hockey is what we watch, but road hockey is the game we actually play. The national game of Canadian mythology is played on a frozen pond, but in reality most of us spent more time denting garage doors with tennis balls than slapping pucks." It has been estimated by event organizers that there are at least three times as many people in Canada who have played street hockey as who have played ice hockey.
Each of the 54 Men's and 6 Women's teams that will compete in this event previously qualified to do so during one of the fifteen Hockey Night in Canada's Play On! tournaments held across Canada this past summer.
Hockey Night in Canada's Play On! National Championship tournament will also be featured in conjunction with the 11th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada celebration on February 12, 2011 at 12 noon ET on CBC TV. Victoria, BC will be one of the satellite locations that will be visited across Canada as part of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada on CBC, with coverage from this national championship event. Whitehorse, Yukon is the official 2011 host location for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada on CBC.
The Hotel Grand Pacific and Fairmont Empress Hotels will be Official Co-Host Hotel Partners of the event, which is also sponsored by SportChek, Powerade, Booster Juice, The City of Victoria, and Tourism Victoria.
"It’s a great honour to have CBC's Play On! event back in Victoria as the only destination to host the event for two consecutive years" says Rob Gialloreto, President & CEO of Tourism Victoria. "With twice as many teams in 2011, we know this national championship event will be bigger and better than ever. We look forward to welcoming visitors to come and watch these athletes up close and our national audience on CBC TV Canada!"
"After the great success of the event last year, we're delighted that Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! has chosen to return to Victoria" says Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. "While the rest of the country is playing on ice, Victoria will be closing off the street for a tournament that shows-off our wonderful weather and fabulous scenery."
“We’re pleased to once again be headed to the beautiful City of Victoria for coverage of the National Championship of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On!, as part of our Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada coverage,” said Joel Darling, Director of Production, CBC Sports. “Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada is all about celebrating the game and this event does exactly that.”
Teams competing at the event will include those representing each of the fifteen host cities of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! in 2010, including St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Burnaby. Also attending will be qualifying teams from many other locations across Canada including La Ronge, SK, Kenora, ON, Lethbridge, AB, Marystown, NL, and Niagara Falls, ON. The defending champions from Surrey, BC and a very strong host team from Victoria will also compete in the event.
Date: February 11-12, 2011
Location: Belleville Street, Government Street at Victoria, BC Inner Harbour
Note: Full Street closures will be implemented from 6pm on Thurs, Feb 10 – 8pm on Sat, Feb 12
Friday February 11, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday February 12, 9:00am – 6:00pm
National Championship Game to begin Saturday Feb 12th at 5:00pm
Admission: This event is free to spectators. Seating available on a first come first serve basis.
About Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On!
Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! is Canada’s largest sports festival, featuring recreational and competitive street hockey tournament divisions for both genders, all skill levels, and all ages. Since the program's inception in 2003, more than 520,000 Canadians have ‘taken back the streets’ from coast to coast through involvement in one of the fifty Play On! events held to date. The events have collectively included participation from many current NHL, AHL, CHL, and CIS players. These large-scale, highly organized street hockey events celebrate the game of hockey in its most pure form, in a wholesome, fun-filled atmosphere that makes kids feel like NHL pros and helps adults feel like kids again. All interested participants can visit www.playon.ca for tournament information, to register a team, and more. Anyone can play! Summer 2011 event schedule will be announced in February.
About CBC's Hockey Night in Canada
CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, the title sponsor of Play On!, has been a national institution since 1952. Now in its 58th season, CBC's Hockey Night in Canada remains the most popular weekly sports program in Canada, averaging more than a million viewers every Saturday night. Hockey fans can visit cbcsports.ca 24 hours a day, seven days a week for live and on-demand video streaming of all games as well as comprehensive NHL coverage, including weekly columns from CBC's Hockey Night in Canada personalities, breaking news, in-depth reports, broadcast schedules and more.
About the Redwood Cup
The Redwood Cup is analogous to the Stanley Cup, road hockey style! It is awarded annually to the Hockey Night in Canada's Play On! national champions, who are recognized as the world's greatest street hockey players. The Cup stands 49" (124.5cm) tall and is made of solid redwood with plated sterling silver. The five silver sticks that encompass and support the trophy are representative of the number of players on each original Play On! team. They also guard the silver plated maple leaf, symbolic of the importance of hockey to our nation. Heavier than the Stanley Cup, the Redwood Cup weighs over 63 lbs (28.6 kg)! The Cup gets its name from Redwood Road in Kingsville, Ontario. It spent two years on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
About Tourism Victoria
Tourism Victoria is the official not-for-profit tourism industry association marketing Victoria as a world-class destination. In partnership with business members, local municipalities, surrounding communities of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Canada, Tourism Victoria works to showcase the destination. Tourism Victoria’s mandate is to increase the economic impact of tourism for Greater Victoria by marketing the destination and servicing visitor needs. For more information about Tourism Victoria, visit www.tourismvictoria.com.