By Kristy Koehler, March 15 2019 —
Noah Jones and University of Calgary student Chris Pylatuk are trying to start a free street hockey community in Calgary. Calgary Free Street Hockey aims to make getting active accessible to everyone.
Jones and Pylatuk met at a Japanese conversation club on campus and started going to a men’s hockey group together.
“Eventually it just wasn’t enough to play twice a month for maybe 40 minutes,” Jones said. They wanted to play more often and include more people.
Jones says that getting outside and getting active can be incredibly expensive and that free options for folks to participate in sport are virtually non-existent.
“I think that people are so encouraged to stay inside,” Jones said. “If you want to go out and play a sport it’s like a $10 drop-in, which, every time you drop in, that kind of sucks. Even to go play soccer it’s like $200. What could be $200 about soccer? You’re outside in the summer kicking a ball around a field. The nets are already there. It’s ludicrous to me.”
The pair used some of their own money to buy equipment and start the group. They’ve also received donations from private individuals as well as Airdrie Stick Repair. They have almost everything they need — except one goalie helmet, one 72-inch net and a place to store it all.
Currently, all of the equipment is being stored in Pylatuk’s room.
The hope is that the group can have permanent storage for the equipment and game organizers to pick it up, travel to locations around the city and provide a fun environment for hockey aficionados to connect and get active. They have yet to play their first game but have plenty of interest in their Facebook group. Currently, they’re exploring a space in the community of Edgemont but are hopeful the group will grow and have games going on all over the city.
Jones stresses that Calgary Free Street Hockey will be inclusive to anyone who wants to play. He hopes people will spread the word.
“Even if you’re not planning on coming, tell people about this,” he said. “Get out of the house, stop playing video games.”
Jones posts all of the information on the group’s Facebook page.