Game On!?

Remember that scene from the movie Wayne’s World, where Wayne and Garth are engaged in a little ball hockey in the street outside Garth’s house?  Maybe you remember a similar scene from when you were a kid.  Around the corner from my house when I was growing up was a dead end street,  the site of many a fierce street hockey battle on sunny summer afternoons — and as it was a dead end, never was the game interrupted by  shouts of “CAR!”

Maybe your kids were out today playing street hockey after school today. If you live in the city of Toronto, they’d have been breaking the law.

Toronto’s public works committee recently agreed to uphold a city by-law preventing the most Canadian of past-times on city streets.  Concerned with the possibility that lifting the ban would result in increased risk to the city, the committee has decided not to recommend to city council that the by-law be overturned.  Granted, the by-law is rarely if ever enforced; kids have been playing street hockey — by law or no — on Toronto streets for years, and the fine is fairly insignificant.  A motion is to be heard by City council sometime this month asking the council to allow parents to take responsibility for any damages or incidents occurring during a street hockey game.

You’d think that in a city as hockey mad as Toronto, that there would be many people in favour of overturning the bylaw, but as always, there are two sides to this issue.  On one side are the parents who argue that street hockey is harmless – and given the increasing concern over childhood obesity, that it’s actually beneficial. Parents appreciate that their kids are playing in front of their houses, under their noses.  And really. It’s hockey, for goodness sake. What’s wrong with kids playing hockey? On the other side, concerns about property damage, accidents, and the right of homeowners to enjoy their front lawns unencumbered by sounds of hockey sticks on asphalt abound. Oh, and don’t forget that the “war on cars” in this city is over.

What’s your take? Should street hockey be prohibited? If you don’t live in Toronto, what’s the story where you live?


5 thoughts on “Game On!?

  1. I now live in Kitchener but was born and raised in the Beach area of Toronto. I can remember many heated street hockey games growing up and they were always alot of fun!
    It seems to me that playing street hockey is almost a right of passage… many simple things have become so much more difficult in this day and age….everything being programmed and organized to the hilt that a simple random, spur of the moment hockey game is extremely appealing, I am sure to alot of kids and their parents would and will relish in the oppurtunity to just play!

  2. I frankly don’t understand why the ban in the first place. Why was the by-law first enacted? Because of property damage? If that’s the case, I have had far more damage done to my car by other vehicles trying to navigate around other cars on the narrow streets – made much, much narrower by snowbanks – than street hockey mishaps. If it’s a question of safety, cars zooming down streets – that’s pretty much a moot point. An accident involving kids and cars can (unfortunately) happen under a variety of circumstances . . . mostly involving children too young to play unsupervised (by an adult) road hockey.

    I wonder about a lot of these “by-laws”. Sigh.

    Have you ever seen this enforced? I know someone who had a group of young kids over to her house to play in the backyard “turtle” pool and a (crotchety) neighbour complained about the noise and threatened calling the by-law officer. It wasn’t even late – and nothing that could be done anyway but seriously, if you want peace and quiet, move to the country!

  3. One of the things I miss most about our last house is the alley-way in back. The kids would ride their bikes and play hockey back there for hours. Our street now is just too busy.
    There is an interesting initiative in my neighbourhood, inspired by Silken Laumen, I think, of parents taking turns to watch kids at the park. Just to get kids outside before dinner. The longer days are coming, and the light is there for longer days of play.

  4. We live in US near Canada and there is ALWAYS a game on hockey on our street. My husband thought it was great when he first saw it. These days my 4yo girl wants to join!

    They are pretty good to move out of the way for cars and I haven’t known of any damage…

  5. I can kind of understand that drivers might be frustrated if its a busy road, not wanting to have to detour, wait, or slow down (OMG, the inconvenience of it all!) When the hockey is played on a quiet street with little traffic, there is no reason to keep the kids from playing, good to hear that they don’t enforce this by law too much!

    Better that the kids are playing hockey, rather than doing other things? or getting into trouble!

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