Action from the Hockeyfest back in 2019. The 2021 tour stops in Abbotsford from July 16 to 18. (Hockeyfest photo)

Action from the Hockeyfest back in 2019. The 2021 tour stops in Abbotsford from July 16 to 18. (Hockeyfest photo)

Hockeyfest coming to Abbotsford next month

Street hockey festival makes stop at Abbotsford Centre from July 16 to 18

An event billed as the world’s largest street hockey festival is coming to Abbotsford next month.

Hockeyfest is set to occur outside the Abbotsford Centre from July 16 to 18, and will be one of the first events to come to town following the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.

Games are played on 50 per cent to scale NHL-sized rinks with real boards, real netting and real referees. There are also a number of age and gender divisions. They include: Youth – nine and under, 11 and under, 13 and under, 15 and under, 17 and under and Adult – men’s recreational, men’s intermediate, men’s Competitive, women’s and co-ed.

The festival debuted in 2019 with events in Chicago and several cities in Ontario. Abbotsford is the second stop on the 2021 tour and is the lone B.C. city to host. Other cities include: Edmonton (July 9 to 11), Regina (July 23 to 25), Ottawa (July 30 to Aug. 1), Blaine, Minn. (Aug. 13 to 15), Summerside, PEI (Aug. 27 to 29) and Winnipeg (Aug. 27 to 29).

There will be strict COVID-19 protocols at the festival, and there will be a limit of 100 people on site at any given time. Rinks will be spaced out to ensure social distancing matters are in place and masks will be mandatory for all spectators and staff. Prolonged contact during game play will also not be allowed.

Hockeyfest has partnered with PredictMedix Inc. and Juiceworks to deploy Safe Entry Stations at all HockeyFest events. Every player, staff and visitor will be screened by a Safe Entry Station powered by an artificial intelligence algorithim. The AI is designed by data scientists and infectious disease specialists to identify multiple symptoms of infectious disease. A green light allowing those to enter the event or a red light denying entry will follow.

Unlike the previous festivals, there will be no opportunities for interactive games or other associated activities on-site due to COVID-19.

For a full list of all the rules, visit hockeyfestgameon.com/rules-and-regulations.

There is a cost of $599 per team, with a maximum of seven players per team including a goalie. The nine and under team can have nine players in total.

If the tournament needs to be postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, all teams will be contacted and refunded.

For more on the event, visit hockeyfestgameon.com.

RELATED: Abbotsford Centre aims to rise from the ashes of 2020

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