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Street Hockey Takes Over Yonge Street

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Rebecca Virgin

Monday, May 1, 2006

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(Toronto) -- On any other day of the year in order to play street hockey on Yonge Street you would have to shout "CAR" an awful lot.  Normally one of the busiest streets in Canada, this past Sunday afternoon all cars were turned away to make way for the Esso Street Hockey Jamboree.

Fans had a chance to meet a few Leafs Alumni.

Kids of all ages, families, boys, girls, grandmas and grandpas were all invited to join in the jamboree free of charge - a fun for all tournament that took over downtown Toronto all in the name of a great Canadian pastime.

"We shut down Yonge Street to celebrate the game of hockey in the city Toronto," said Jason Schawbe of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.  "People love the aspect that it's grassroots, it's not about who wins and who loses, it's about families having fun together, kids having fun, being active and fortunately today we have a bright sunny day so it's a lot of fun."

The street hockey jamboree, now in its sixth year, couldn't have asked for better weather as thousands of people stretched down Yonge Street equipped with sunglasses and sunscreen.  Some families camped out in lawn chairs while others milled about Dundas Square taking part in table hockey and other activities. 

Among the crowd were several Maple Leafs Alumni such as Wendel Clark, Dick Duff, Mike Pelyk and Jack Valliquette.  They were signing autographs and also took part in a few games.

"I'm having a great time.  It's great to be out here playing street hockey in the springtime," said Mike Pelyk, president of the Leafs Alumni association.  "For the Alumni it's a chance for a lot of Leaf fans that only know the current Leafs to meet some of the Leafs that have played in the past."

Though Dick Duff decided to retire from street hockey after playing in last year's jamboree, the 70 year-old Leaf alumnus was found wandering all the way down Yonge Street greeting fans and giving out free tips.

"I played last year but I'm just a spectator this year," said Duff . "I like to go around and say hello to people."

The Esso Street Hockey Jamboree is hoping that after six successful years the tournament will now be a mainstay in the Toronto springtime events calendar.

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