April is time for taking it to the streets
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April is time for taking it to the streets

Let it never be said that Canadians are not resourceful. Sure, the spring weather has melted the ice, but the Canadian hockey enthusiast will not take no for an answer. No – like Wayne and Garth before him, he will drag his net onto the street, gather his friends, and continue his country’s favourite game on the concrete, stopping only to clear the way for a passing motorist.

It’s road hockey season again, and that means the return the region’s venerable tournaments. On April 26, matches arranged by the Waterloo Roadbreakers and Elmira Optimists will return for another year on the asphalt rink.

Now celebrating its 29th anniversary, the Waterloo Roadbreakers have crossed entire generations, said organizer Shelley Byers.

“The children of the kids who started playing in the event 29 years ago are starting to play. That’s been such a marvelous way of looking at this event.”

With more than 200 teams from across the region attending, the tournament is dependably busy, Byers said.

“It’s a bustling day. We put our tents up; the food gets ready; the Canadian anthem is played, and game on! Sometimes they win, and sometimes they have to lose, but as they win they move on and at the end of the day the prizes go out. There are lots of games for the kids to do, lots of food, and family fun.”

“I don’t think there’s any kid in Canada who hasn’t been on their street saying, ‘Car!’” Byers laughed. Kids at the tournament won’t have to worry about getting run over, but Byers assures us that the fun will still be there.

“It’s the love of the game, that’s what’s kept the committee going for 30 years. These guys started when they were in university – they were kids themselves, and they knew how much they loved playing road hockey.”

Meanwhile, the Elmira Optimists’ tournament will also be putting puck to pavement on April 26, returning for its 23rd year of its smaller-scale event.

“It’s not meant to draw tonnes of teams from outside our neighbourhood – it’s really meant to be a fun day for kids in Elmira in Floradale,” said organizer Steve Bisbee.

“I’ve seen kids from the earliest age group go all the way through. They get to come out, play road hockey, eat a hot dog, and have a fun day.”

Registration for Waterloo Roadbreakers is open until April 14 at www.roadbreakers.ca. To register for the Optimists’ event for $5, contact optimist.roadhockey@gmail.com.

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