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Canadian charity turns warship's flight deck into street hockey court

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Is this the most unique locale for a street hockey game? (USATSI)
Is this the most unique locale for a street hockey game?

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For millions of kids across North America, the summer is a time for playing baseball, frequent trips to the local park and ice cream. For thousands of others, the summer ritual includes the time-honored tradition of street hockey (or ball hockey, if you will).

Without the difficulty of learning how to skate, there's really no barrier to falling in love with the game on asphalt. A few friends, a clear patch of street or tennis court, a net (or something resembling a net), a ball and some sticks and you're off. There's not much to worry about aside from those pesky cars (Game off. Game on. Etc.).

That's why a group of folks involved with Canadian charity Five Hole for Food is going to be the envy of street hockey players everywhere. On July 4, as part of their street hockey tour to help raise food, money and awareness, teams squared off on the flight deck of the HMCS Preserver, Canada's longest-serving warship, which is stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The surface of the flight deck was actually a pretty perfect size for a game. There was one rather large problem, however.

The sides of the ship had no walls, with only netting as a barrier between the players and a long drop off the side. Anyone that has ever played street hockey knows that the most annoying part of the game is when you have to chase errant shots, passes or deflections down the street or over a fence. When there are no walls and a significant drop into water, it's best to not go after those too hard.

According to Five Hole for Food's story on their website, they lost 35 balls to the Atlantic Ocean over the course of an hour. That's a lot of trips to the local sporting goods store.

Here's what it looked like from the perspective of someone brave enough to play a spirited game of street hockey on the Preserver. The video is a bit long, but you'll get the idea pretty quick.

This makes the street hockey scene in Clerks look like child's play.

Five Hole For Food is working its way across Canada playing street hockey and bringing in food donations, while raising awareness for food banks in each city it stops at as part of its 2014 tour. They will hit Toronto on July 10 before wrapping things up in Vancouver on July 19.

Here's more about what they do:

Five Hole for Food (FHFF) is a national, volunteer-driven, non-profit organization with a bold, enterprising and entrepreneurial approach aimed at raising food and awareness for Canadians across the country.

Over the past three years, FHFF has raised in excess of 500,000 pounds of food in support of local food banks across Canada. Armed with national partners, the unwavering support of over 40 volunteers, and an identity borne from social media, FHFF is bringing together communities across Canada by using hockey as a vehicle for social change, and reaching a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

(h/t Jeff Veillette; Photos courtesy of Five Hole For Food)

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