It has been dubbed the "winter classic" for tyke hockey players in Kitchener.
The sixth annual Mayor's Cup will be held Saturday at the rink on Carl Zehr Square outside Kitchener's city hall. It will feature pint-sized hockey players who are just starting out playing the game.
Tyke players — ages seven and younger — will hit the ice for hockey glory in front of their parents, friends and a group of strangers who just happen to walk by when the tournament takes place, said Dave Sutherland, the director of the initiation program for Kitchener Minor Hockey.
"The really neat thing is that you're sitting there watching the game and you kind of lift your head and you look around and you notice that all sorts of other people that are just going up and down King Street will stop and start watching the game," he said.
But even though Sutherland has seen up to 200 people stop to watch a game, he said the players hardly notice.
"They're so excited just to be outside and playing, which is really cool," he said.
Great hockey weather
There will be more than 160 players taking part in the event, which both encourages children to be active and get people to visit the downtown core.
The free event, which starts at 10 a.m., will also feature interactive games, inflatable play areas inside the city hall rotunda and a charitable BBQ.
Mike Farwell, the voice of the Kitchener Rangers, will host the event and local politicians will be there to hand out trophies, although Sutherland said the tournament isn't about who wins or loses. The teams won't use any goalies and it's more about just having fun.
"The game of hockey is really secondary," he said.
And the weather for Saturday will be nearly perfect, which is a relief for Sutherland, given the relatively mild winter.
"It looks awesome. If it was last weekend, we would have been having some water polo," he said.
The Environment Canada forecast is calling for a cloudy day with a chance of flurries and a high of -2 C.