TORONTO, July 13, 2016
Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that several NHL stars, including Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin from the Dallas Stars, Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canuck Alex Burrows are set to participate in the Sportsnet Ball Hockey Challenge at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto and Montreal. The events will take place Sunday July 24 at 1 p.m. ET at Aviva Centre and Saturday July 23 at 2 p.m. at Uniprix Stadium.
McDavid and Seguin will lead a roster of NHL stars as Centre Court in Toronto is transformed into a ball hockey arena for the afternoon. Among the other NHL players set to participate in Toronto are Michael Del Zotto, Jason Spezza, and Dominic Moore.
National Bank Court will be the site of the ball hockey game in Montreal, with Burrows, Plekanec, Antoine Roussel, Stefan Matteau, and Olympic gold medallist Kim St. Pierre among the confirmed participants.
More athletes will be announced closer to the date. In both cities, the hockey stars will compete alongside top ATP and WTA players in a joining of hockey and tennis, one of Canada’s national sports and one of its fastest-growing sports. Sportsnet’s Caroline Cameron is confirmed to host the event in Toronto.
“This is an amazing chance for our fans to get closer to two of their favourite sports, and a unique opportunity to see top tennis stars in a different setting,” said Karl Hale, Rogers Cup Toronto tournament director. “This is a marquee event of our opening weekend and has been a favourite of the players over the past few years. Both the tennis and hockey players really admire what the others do, and it’s a chance to let loose and have some fun. Fans will really get to see their personalities shine.”
The popular ball hockey event takes place on Pizzaville Free Community Weekend in Toronto and Aviva Family Weekend in Montreal, with admission free for everyone to attend. The weekend is filled with family-friendly activities such as face painting, mini-tennis, and autograph sessions, in addition to qualifying action as ATP and WTA players attempt to make the tournament’s main draw.
Two years ago, Roger Federer was among the ATP stars to take part and his dominance on the court carried over to the arena as he scored a goal to the crowd’s delight.
The Sportsnet Ball Hockey Challenge in Toronto will face off on Sunday July 24 at 1 p.m. ET with admission free for all to attend, and seating on Centre Court on a first-come, first-serve basis. Qualifying tennis begins at 10 a.m. with gates opening at 9:30 a.m.
In Montreal, ball hockey will run on Saturday July 23 at 2 p.m. ET on National Bank Court. The first-round qualifying matches will commence at 10 a.m. with gates open at 9 a.m.