Hockey Alberta looking forward to Play On! unifying Albertan Communities in 2024

February 26th, 2024

On February 26th, President and CEO of Hockey Alberta, Rob Litwinski, wrote to The Honourable Joseph Schow, House Leader and Minister of Tourism and Sport.

Litwinski hopes that the return of Play On! in 2024 will continue to "preserve street hockey as part of Canadian heritage and culture, and [succeed in] its efforts to deliver mass participation street hockey events throughout Alberta that unify and build our communities one game at a time."

Litwinksi also underlines the virtue, fun and inclusive nature of Play On!'s organization, stating that : "Play On! Canada events celebrate [...] fun and virtue. They are inclusive to all, including newcomers, persons with disabilities, girls and women, and have historically attracted thousands of participants, including both out of Province tourists and community members."

In addition to this, Hockey Alberta recognizes that "Play On! events also serve Alberta’s Indigenous communities as street hockey is not currently offered as part of the Alberta Indigenous games."

Litwinksi coins Play On! "a made-in-Canada project that we can all be proud of."

Historically in Alberta, "The events [...] have been large and well attended, with 57% of participants in its most recent season not playing ice Hockey."

Hockey Alberta thus feels that collaboration is necessary in order to ensure the sustainability of the project, as "The program was growing at nearly 30% annually when CBC funding of the program was withdrawn after CBC lost NHL broadcast rights".

Litwinski also shares Hockey Alberta's intention to communicate to Hockey Canada support for the recommissioning of Canada Cup, in order to award it to the winners of Play On!. Hockey Alberta hopes that The Ministry will also support this initiative.

The cities of Lethbridge, Calgary, and Edmonton have all made significant funding contributions towards the program that are conditional on matching from the Federal Government.