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ImageThe Can/Am Festival games are usually held the 2nd Sunday of August every year at the AllTel ice Den. Hockey in the Arizona desert all year round. To some, it's brand new. To others, it's the missing piece of a life left behind elsewhere. Regardless of where club members first played, they've never participated in as unique a brand of play as demonstrated by the Hacker Hockey Club. Hacker Hockey is a complimentary program designed to support the valley's adult hockey leagues and grow the sport. It allows new players the opportunity to experience the sport in a non-aggressive environment with additional ice time. The Hacker Hockey Club and the Icemen That Care Foundation have put on 7 Annual Can/Am Festival Games. These promise to be unforgettable events for all involved. The charity ice hockey games and entertainment festival are held from 9:00 am to about 3:00 PM. The proceeds benefit different specific projects hockey related in the valley our last one being for fellow Hacker Club member and Deputy Sheriff Doug Matteson who tragically lost his leg in a hit and run accident on May 1st, 2004 and the Icemen That Care Foundation for area “at hope” youths.
At each year's event, many members of the 1000 member club will lace up their skates and countless others will participate behind the scenes. Without the generosity of our many sponsors and supporters, as well as the cooperation of the AllTel Ice Den, these events would not have been possible. The highlights include the future Hackers at 9 AM, the 11:40 a.m. game with the Phoenix vs. Mesa Street kids Broom Ball Game on the Moon Rink, featuring the kids that play Takin’ It To The Streets each quarter with us.

The generosity through a $5 admission ticket helps make this event a huge success. The first 100 kids receive commemorative Hacker pucks.

The players won't in any way form national dream teams, but you can take into account that they are playing so that the dreams of children in the valley may be realized. Each year's event features 10 hockey games between the Canadian members and American members of the Hacker Hockey Club representing their country as hockey teams. While just 10% of the club is of Canadian descent, the teams will represent the U.S in their home white jerseys or Canada in their road red. These games will appear a little different to you from other hockey games you've seen. We are playing today as we play all year… "Hacker rules." We have played over 3000 games this way.
Since our inception, we have played without referees and yet have never had a fight and if somebody does gets a little aggressive we simply talk to them and ask them to conform to the “Hacker Spirit.” If they don't or can't then we suspend them for a couple of games and we have found that the guys that really want to play this style of recreational hockey conform pretty quickly! For off sides or obvious penalties, we simply turn the puck over to the other team. When a goal is scored, the offended team digs the puck out of the net and brings it back into play and up the ice. The players are matched by skill. Line one players are usually veteran hockey players, some of whom have played for more than 40 years! Some of who are ex or current NHLers. We have in our membership Bobby Smith, Jocelyn Lemieux, JJ Daigneault, Jamie Baker, Claude Lemieux, Bob Essensa, Doug Matteson all of who have played in the NHL. Then we even have Jeremy Roenick who comes out and dazzles us every once and a while who is currently in the NHL. Line two players represent most of the players in our club. They are new or rusty to the game. Over 65% of the club is made up of line 2 players. Our goal is to turn those who play hockey into becoming hockey players. We play two minute shifts. With an eye on the clock, you’ll see players jump quickly over the boards and continue the play as the players on the ice hurry off for a rest. This keeps the game moving, exciting and also gives each of us who play, a better workout. One of the draw backs with referees is that when they blow their whistles, the play stops and thus the workout and conditioning stops. Over 95% of our members play in the local leagues and also have their children playing the minor leagues as well. The whole philosophy proves to be a huge win/win for all involved. If you are new to town or new to hockey, you'll meet captains of teams in the leagues and be able to move into these leagues each new season. The cost for playing a Hacker game is just $25 a game and you pay before each game. No up front costs. You can check out the schedule on our website HackerHockeyClub.com and find a time and rink that suits you. Then simply reserve on line. We'll confirm your reservation by email and then call you on game day to tell you what team you're playing on. It's that easy! As an old friend of ours used to say: “It is a Great Day for Hockey.”

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