May 29, 2024

The largest road hockey tournament in North America will be making a stop at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in May, with proceeds going to Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region.

For 13 years, the Family and Children’s Services Foundation hosted a street hockey tournament every spring, called Hot Shots.

The tournament was a fundraiser to help support the foundation’s Kids To Camp campaign. The money raised at last year’s tournament helped send more than 500 kids and youth to summer camp.

This year, the foundation will instead team up with Hockeyfest-Game On! for a festival to run from May 11-12.

“They’re hitting OHL markets in Kitchener, London, Barrie, Peterborough and Ottawa, partnering with local centres to bring a street hockey tournament as a charitable fundraiser,” said Tracy Jasmins, event and community awareness coordinator for the Family and Children’s Services Foundation. “They selected us to be their charitable partner and because we had done Hot Shots for so many years. We bring some expertise [and] a lot of interest, [since] we have teams that have played with us forever.”

Jasmins said that partnering with Hockeyfest also alleviates the pressure on her foundation, since they no longer have to coordinate the tournament itself.

“They come in and do all the setup. They’ll do the tournament itself and we’ll receive the proceeds. It’s a win-win,” she said. “They’ll help us grow the festival and maybe bring in more teams than we were able to manage.”

The playing surface for the tournament will have authentic hockey boards and mesh behind the goaltenders to help avoid having to retrieve balls.

The youth divisions will feature girls, boys and co-ed teams with several age brackets for each. Games will be three-on-three plus goalies and each team can have a maximum of seven players on its roster.

There are adult divisions for both men and women, as well as a co-ed division. These teams have the choice to enter a recreational or competitive tournament.

The price for entering a team is $495 plus tax. Every team that enters is guaranteed at least four games in their tournament.

Hockeyfest will be a integral part of the foundation’s Kids To Camp campaign, which is kicking off in April. Their goal is raise $50,000 through the event — a third of the goal for the entire campaign, which is $150,000.

Family and Children’s Services will have a presence at Hockeyfest, as they will have booths with their foster and adoption teams, as well as their volunteer services, to provide volunteer opportunities for members of the community.

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