Mark your calendars for May 31 – June 2 as the annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament comes to town. Not only is it one of Brantford’s showcase tournaments of the year for participants both near and far, but it’s a great way to come out and experience some amazing food while taking in all the action.
The tournament started thirteen years ago as a home-grown tournament that honors Brantford’s (and Canada’s!) favourite Hockey Dad, Walter Gretzky. Organized by the Ontario Lung Association and Ball Hockey International Brantford for the last eight years, the street hockey tournament has raised $402,727.00 that has been directed towards lung health research.
This storied street hockey tournament has caught the imagination and accolades from participants both near and far. Who doesn’t remember the years that Kevin Smith, famed Hollywood director/writer/actor/podcaster etc. etc., came to play in the tournament as well as host an evening event at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts? His interest in the tournament and respect for Walter Gretzky helped to get this tournament recognized as a Guinness World Record holder for hosting the largest street hockey tournament in the world in 2010.
Organizers are expecting over 175 teams to participate. And with ten players per team plus their goalie…the event will bring almost two thousand players to the city for the weekend. Participants will be coming from all over Canada, the U.S. and Virgin Islands. And spectators are encouraged…the more the merrier! Spectator admission is free.
But another great reason to attend the tournament is all the great food that will be available from vendors. Try the tasty offerings from: The Hot Dog Gourmet, The Sherwood Restaurant, Montana’s and The Tragically Chip Wagon. There will also be a beer garden with Montana’s and Waterloo Brewery testing new summer flavours.
The official Opening Ceremonies/Puck Drop will take place on Saturday, June 1st at 12:30 pm at the Steve Brown Sports Complex/Lions Park outdoor BHi rink. Brantford’s own Town Crier David McKee will ring in the tournament with Ontario Lung Association CEO George Habib, Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis, MP Brantford-Brant Phil McColeman, MPP Brantford-Brant Wil Bouma and of course, Wally himself.
So gather everyone you know and join in one of the most fun events of the year - a Great weekend of friendship, hockey and food!