It’s become an annual tradition at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers and a highlight of IGA Family Weekend. Once again on Saturday, several of the top ATP players faced off against some of the NHL’s biggest stars in ball hockey presented by Knapper in front of a packed crowd on Court 2.
Lining up for the ATP were the likes of Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz, both top 8 seeds in this year’s tournament, as well as Emil Ruusuvuori and Tommy Paul. The NHL countered with the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, the newest addition to the Calgary Flames, Jonathan Drouin of the Montreal Canadiens, and Marc-Édouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks.
The ATP players showed off some impressive hockey skills, especially Ruusuvuori (must be his Finnish roots!) and Ruud, who has clearly been taking notes while watching his favourite team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, the two ‘Hubies’, Hurkacz and Huberdeau, were eager to meet and share stories.
Sure, they were just playing for bragging rights, but on the scoreboard, the team with actual hockey players won 5-4 in a shootout thanks to a beautiful goal scored by Olympic gold medalist and Team Canada’s own, Mélodie Daoust. Still, the ATP players brought out their slickest moves to find the back of the net three times in the shootout.
After yet another memorable event, we’re already counting the days until next year’s ball hockey game.