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FEATURE: HockeyFest brings more than just street hockey to the UC

The largest street hockey tournament in the world arrives in Chicago this weekend with a family festival atmosphere.

by Rory Higgins / Blackhawks.com

It might be summer time in Chicago, but the Windy City's passion for hockey is as alive as ever. 

Chicago's first ever HockeyFest will kick off this weekend right outside the United Center. HockeyFest Game On is the largest street hockey tournament in the world, with divisions ranging from ages 6 to 75, and attendants flying in from across the country. 

Spectators can attend the event for free as they explore food trucks, beer tents and live music throughout the United Center parking lots and watch the tournament over the weekend. 

Last month, a few lucky fans and media were given a sneak peek of what to expect when the full-scale event kicks off on June 22. 

"You see one rink board behind us, so you can imagine what [HockeyFest] looks like... It's a real family festival atmosphere," HockeyFest owner Brad Jones said. "Think music festival meets hockey." 

Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy stopped by last month's media event to play a little street hockey with some local recreational teams.

Video: HockeyFest sneak peek

"It's a lot of fun to be able to get all the kids together, even if they're not hockey players," Murphy said. It's easy to grab a stick and join in on a fun game."

HockeyFest has been an ongoing event in Canada for several years, but Jones explained that his decision to move the tournament to Chicago was about far more than visiting a larger market. 

"Chicago is such a great city, such a great sports town, and the Blackhawks are a first-class organization," Jones said. "I think it was really a no-brainer for the first one to be right here in Chicago." 

With HockeyFest arriving on June 22 and the Blackhawks Convention in July, fans should have no trouble satisfying their hockey craving this summer.

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