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Hockey lovers play on in downtown competition

Athol and Mary Street were shut down for two days as people from all over Durham Region came out to play in Canada’s largest sports festival. Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! Oshawa event ran June 25-26 outside of the General Motors Centre.

The 4-on-4 tournament was a mix of recreational and competitive street hockey for all ages, genders and skill levels including four divisions: Tidbit, Youth, Adult and Elite Street.

Streets were shut down for the Play On! tournament hosted downtown Oshawa.

The ‘Regular Season’ games were played on Saturday and the ‘Playoffs’ took place on Sunday, where winning teams from all divisions received prizes provided by national and local sponsors.

The Elite Oshawa champions will advance to the national championships, formerly held in Victoria B.C., to compete for The Redwood Cup, which is awarded to the National Champions and was brought home by the Oshawa Bulls in 2008.

Eric Brown of 'Radio Park Ricks' playing against the 'LiGHTS OUT' team in the Muckers subdivision of Adult Street.

St. Johns Hospital volunteer medical first responder Lui Sgroi said downtown was a safe zone, saying any injuries he had responded to were, “just a few minor bumps and bruises.” He believes the tournament is a positive thing, “I hope it grows. I hope it builds, as it keeps kids off the streets or puts them on the street for a good reason.”

Between games, patrons had a chance to witness a breakaway competition and a celebrity street hockey game.

Out-of-town teams and spectators also had a chance to explore downtown Oshawa’s establishments. Dave Hannah, manager of The Patty Shack on King Street said it was a good location for the tournament, as the weekend saw a few extra people stop by the popular burger joint.

The Red Team will be competing for this year’s national championship in the men’s division and the UOIT Ridgebacks will be competing in the women’s division. The location for those final events has yet to be disclosed.

Deke, the Oshawa Generals mascot, was on hand to cheer on players.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! Oshawa ran in partnership with the Oshawa Generals, Ajax Minor Hockey Association, Markham Minor Hockey Association, Ontario Minor Hockey Association, the Pickering Panthers and the Whitby Wildcats. Read more about Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! schedule, results and upcoming details on their website.

Story by Matthew McPhee. Images by Ryan Tir

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