Amateur and professional hockey players alike are taking to the streets today, as CBC Hockey Night In Canada’s Play On! 4-on-4 street hockey tournament runs all weekend in the Deerfoot Outlet Mall’s parking lot.

“This is kind of like their Super Bowl, all those guys who enjoy street hockey but don’t have any place to play it,” said Calgary event director Vern Gerhardt. “The purpose of the tournament is to give street hockey a major league seal.”

Anywhere from 18,000 to 22,000 spectators are expected to watch. With 431 teams registered, the nearly 40 rinks at the Deerfoot Mall will hold almost 1,300 games. Started in 2002, the Calgary event is joined by 17 other cities, making it Canada’s largest sports festival.

“It’s a little bit of a smaller rink; ob-viously less players,” said Gerhardt. “We actually see a lot of players who come here who don’t have ice hockey skills -you don’t need to necessarily know how to skate in order to play this game.”

At 11: 45 a.m. today, Calgary Flames assistant coach Dave Lowry, Calgary Hitmen Nathan MacMaster and Brendan Santini, Hitmen alumnus Brandon Kozun and both University of Calgary Dinos teams will play a celebrity game.

© Calgary Herald. Reproduced for portfolio purposes only.