Skip the Gym and Take Back The Street

How a passionate hockey fan is getting people to play hockey, even when there’s no ice.

Up here in the great white north, hockey is played only on the finest frozen water imported straight from the North Pole, but in the Southeastern United States, outdoor rinks are but a fantasy for most of the year. So they play hockey with something called a “ball”. This round object is used to play hockey as if it were on ice, but on warm, dry ground. As crazy as this sounds to us Canadians, it hasn’t stopped Lou Harvatin from organizing weekly games for people in Charlotte, North Carolina through OpenSports.

After moving from Pittsburgh, PA, Lou longed to play ball hockey again after taking some time off. He knew a few people in Charlotte and decided to see if they would want to shoot around.

In December of 2010, Charlotte Street Hockey was born.

Initially, there was just 6 members playing with 1 net on a basketball court, and all games were organized through Facebook and email. Since then, Lou has grown his group to over 300 avid ball hockey players — who still play on the same basketball court. The Charlotte Street Hockey group on OpenSports is home to 41 of the 300 total members, but Lou hopes that eventually everyone will join on OpenSports.

Lou is now playing ball hockey on a weekly basis and has an excuse to skip the gym.

From all of us here at OpenSports, we hope that Lou continues to bring in more members to play ball hockey and maybe one day we will make the trip down to Charlotte to try this crazy version of hockey without a puck.

On a side note, although Lou’s favourite hockey team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, he told me that his favourite West Coast team is the Edmonton Oilers — so it’s safe to say that Lou and I are best friends now.

If you are in the Charlotte area, give Lou a shout. I’m sure he would love to have you come play 🥅 🏒