Summer in Canada is a strange time. Sure, there's the Canadian Football League, the Blue Jays and fishing, of course, but the lack of hockey sure is a bummer. Toronto hockey fans did get a brief reprieve from their hockey-less days on Sunday, however.
With the men's leg of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament going at Rexall Centre Court, a bunch of NHLers including Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jason Spezza of the Dallas Stars were on hand to play in Sportsnet's Ball Hockey Challenge. It was tabbed a s a free, family-friendly event. The NHL stars were to go head-to-head with some of the tennis participants.
And who showed up? None other than living tennis legend Roger Federer, owner of a record 17 grand slam titles, two Olympic medals, and currently ranked as the No. 3 player in the world.
And they certainly rolled out ball hockey's version of a red carpet for one of the biggest stars in world tennis.
There was a full rink complete with boards taking up almost the entire tennis court. It's just like the old street hockey games on the tennis courts at the local park on hot summer days, only way, way nicer.
Kessel and Federer stopped for some pictures, probably trading tips on forehand-backhand type stuff.
Christine Simpson of Sportsnet also showed that things were being kept pretty light out there with the goaltender swapping a paddle for a comically oversized tennis racquet.
Not sure if this is legal. pic.twitter.com/VEbx0gA8zD— Christine Simpson (@SNChrisSimpson) August 3, 2014
That's just good stretegy there.
It turns out Federer might have some game as Simpson reported the star scored a last-second goal in the first period.
And Federer with a last second goal to end the 1st period. pic.twitter.com/Sg9AQebrOs— Christine Simpson (@SNChrisSimpson) August 3, 2014
Update: Here's video of Federer's goal, which of course came on a slap shot. Aside from the suspect defense, pretty good form from the tennis champ. Did that go short side? (via Reddit):
Now let's see that goalie stand in front of one of Federer's 125-mile-an-hour serves.