Can I just go on a little hockey mom rant this week?
The Ottawa Citizen newspaper recently reported on a radio interview a city counsellor had with a CBC reporter. The councillor talked about an issue that concerned his constituents and thought that changes should be made to the city by-law regarding this activity. If you live in Ottawa, all the buzz is about the upcoming introduction of the bill legalizing marijuana, but what that’s not what this councillor was concerned about (well maybe he is, but that’s not what the interview was about!). He is concerned about the safety of children and the threat posed to them by street sports like road hockey. He would like to see more consistency with city by-laws and permissible street activities. Since 2002, there has been a city by-law that prohibits children playing in the streets but a 2007 policy was added permitting road hockey and that – apparently – sends a mixed message to everyone and he would like to see some clarification, presumably eliminating this road hockey exemption and prohibiting all street sports.
I know some of you are reading this thinking, “Well yeah, but that’s because it’s Ottawa, and Ottawa is the city that ‘fun’ forgot.” But guess what? It’s a hotly contested issue all across Canada. Google “Road hockey legality in Canada” and you’ll see that the gloves are being dropped over road hockey from Vancouver to Halifax.
There’s the story of a man in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que. who is fighting the $75 ticket he received for violating the no-road-hockey by-law (I’ll give some credit to the local police there who tried their best to talk the complainant out of it but without success). Then, there’s the man in Calgary who was asked to shut down his game of road hockey with his son. And yet another story about the family in Enfield, N.S. who battled with the RCMP to be allowed to play road hockey in front of their house.
Am I the only one in Canada that didn’t know that road hockey is not legal?! In Canada, of all places. When did this happen? More importantly, how did this happen?!
Kids are expected to be physically active at least sixty minutes per day, limit their screen time to one to two hours per day, and at least six servings of fruit and vegetables day. But do not dare suggest they play street hockey on the street. Who are these people who are pestering their local councillors to ban street hockey? It’s as Canadian as maple taffy on ice, red plaid, and the Leafs not making the playoffs.
You know this means, right? The end of road hockey means they’ll play hockey in my basement year-round. Year-round hockey is controversial enough – let’s keep it out of the basement for at least four months of the year, shall we? If we add road hockey to the growing list of prohibited street activities, those kids will have no choice but to continue putting holes in my dry wall and dents in my washing machine.
I guess instead of the child-fitness credit, the government will dole out drywall repair tax credit. Apparently the streets aren’t safe anymore.
Three cheers for road hockey – long may it grace our Canadian streets.
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