News / Edmonton

Closed Edmonton street makes way for accidental street hockey, for now

A group of downtown locals have taken advantage of a closed 102 Avenue and started playing street hockey there

Kyle Witiw (red sweater) and friends saw the closure of 102 Avenue for LRT construction as an opportunity to start playing street hockey in downtown Edmonton.

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

Kyle Witiw (red sweater) and friends saw the closure of 102 Avenue for LRT construction as an opportunity to start playing street hockey in downtown Edmonton.

A closed street in downtown Edmonton has opened the door to street hockey for a group of casual players.

Local resident Kyle Witiw noticed that LRT construction had not yet started on 102 Avenue between 102 and 103 Street, so he thought it would be a great place to play some street hockey with friends.

“We don't have anything like that downtown typically so it was kind of a unique opportunity,” he said.

Witiw said he sent a shoutout to his friends via Facebook and Twitter for a game this past Saturday and around 15 people showed up.

“It's been great, we had a great turn out, a five-on-five game going and everything,” he said.

So far they have had two games, the second one on Monday after work, although he said turnout was smaller due to lower temperatures.  

“We had a couple of people walking by who just happened to have hockey sticks in their hands and joined for a couple of minutes,” he added.

Sean Lee, another downtown resident and a friend of Witiw says he would love to see street hockey become a regular thing.

“It just feels like something you used to do as a kid,” he said.

Kyle Witiw (red sweater) said about 15 of his friends showed up for a impromptu hockey game on a closed down street in downtown Edmonton after a social media callout.

Kevin Tuong

Kyle Witiw (red sweater) said about 15 of his friends showed up for a impromptu hockey game on a closed down street in downtown Edmonton after a social media callout.

“You don’t see street hockey happening as much as it used to ... It’s something we often don't think about, for those of us that live downtown.”

Lee said he hopes their initiative will encourage people to bring hockey back to the streets in their own communities.

"It’s a great advantage of winter you know," he said. "Even when it was a bit colder on Monday night, when you are moving, it’s fun right?"

Witiw says he plans on continuing gathering people together for hockey games as long as there is no construction going on.

“To be perfectly honest, I did not ask (the city) for permission for this, so if there is construction going on, I don’t want to create any issues or safety hazards,” he said.

He added he is trying to set up a game for sometime this week or again on Saturday, but if construction has started in the area by then, he will consider moving the games to Churchill Square.

“I might have to ask for approval by the city for everything before it goes ahead but I’m going to work on that over the next couple of days and sort it out,” he said.

Metro contacted the city for comment but did not hear back by press time.

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