Proving that Canadians love to combine hockey and partying, 22 teams took to the pavement Thursday afternoon for street hockey supremacy and a good time.
The corporate street hockey tournament was part of the Ice Breaker Block party that occurred in the Outdoor City Place parking lot, just outside the doors of Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.
Corporations and businesses took a day off work to come out and enjoy the street festival, which was just one of the special events scheduled for the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Winnipeg. The teams represented a wide variety of professions in the city. Healthcare, food, financial, media, hospitality, and other sectors all came out to celebrate their love of hockey.
Some of the teams were adorned in jerseys with their organization’s colours, while others chose to stay closer to their business attire.
“It’s great camaraderie for us,” said Dan Lafleur of Investors Group. His team, the “Goal-diggers,” wore suits and ties while also sporting toques. “It’s just nice to see so many people out enjoying women’s hockey.”
With the tournament so close to the main venue, it also attracted some members of Team Canada serving as alternates. Cathy Chartrand, Annie Guay, Rebecca Johnston and Winnipeg’s own Sami Jo Small showed up in their Team Canada jerseys to check out the action.
“Winnipeg is doing such a nice job,” Small said. “I knew they would, though. They always support events like this so well.”
The street hockey also piqued the interest of several parents from the Swedish hockey club, who wandered over to watch.
“We practice the same way at home,” said Hans Lorsell, father of Swedish forward Angelica. “We play street hockey there, so it is the same a lot.”
After all was said and done, the gold medal was awarded to the Gibson’s team, Sturgeon Concrete got the silver, and the “Goal-diggers” claimed the bronze.
“It was a great time,” said Angie Pfeifer, special events coordinator for the host organizing committee. “It was competitive all day and everyone enjoyed themselves.”
The street hockey tournament was not the end of the day’s festivities, as adults were encouraged to journey back to the street to take in live entertainment after the conclusion of the Canada-Germany game. Numerous bands were slated to keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning.
Which is fine, because Friday is an off-day at the Women’s Worlds.