On March 4, 2022 Senator Loffreda made a statement in the Senate asking the Federal Government to partner with Play On! Canada. A transcript of his remarks is include below:
Hon. Tony Loffreda: Honourable senators, first and foremost, I wish to publicly extend my unequivocal support to the people of Ukraine and its Canadian diaspora.
I also want to send some good vibes to our Canadian Paralympians who begin their quest for gold today in Beijing. In these difficult times, we all need an activity to bring us together and keep us both physically and mentally healthy. Let me talk to you about such an activity: it’s called Play On! Canada.
Like many kids who grew up in Montreal, I wanted to be the next Lafleur, Cournoyer or Savard — the Senator! Can you blame me?
By the time I graduated high school, I had already attended 10 Stanley Cup parades.
I played hockey the whole time I was growing up. What I really remember from all my years in the sport is the sense of belonging and the friendships.
Hockey has the ability to bring people together, whether that is at the Bell Centre, at local rinks or in neighbourhood streets.
This unifying feature is one of the reasons why I support the rebirth of Canada’s largest cross-country, multi-city street hockey festival, Play On!
For 15 years, Play On! held an annual tournament in cities across Canada where families, adults and youth alike gathered to immerse themselves in our national sport. Its record speaks for itself: 170 events in 37 municipalities with 2.5 million Canadians participating, attending, or volunteering in some capacity.
Once again, this street hockey festival is uniquely positioned to bring Canadians from all walks of life together in a spirit of friendship, inclusivity, fun and to stimulate local economies.
It’s also no secret that the physical and mental health of Canadians have been affected by the pandemic, and this festival reminds us of the importance of team sports to our overall well‑being.
A team of dedicated executives and passionate volunteers are working hard to relaunch Play On!
Honourable senators, I encourage you to support Play On!’s efforts to relaunch its festival and I urge the government to partner with them so that Canadians can once again take part in this festival that will reinject life, leisure and money into our communities and provide an escape for many who have been eagerly anticipating an opportunity to come together.
Hopefully, Canadians across the nation will soon be able to lace up their sneakers, grab a stick and, for a few days this summer or next, they can “play on” and pretend to be Lafleur, Crosby or McDavid. Let’s come together, stay safe and be healthy.