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Because You Care Cup takes over Charlotte Street in Sydney this weekend


SYDNEY — The age-old road hockey problem of watching out for cars won't be an issue when the Because You Care Cup takes over most of Charlotte Street this weekend.

Brad Jacobs was the lone hockey stick-carrying player on Charlotte Street on Friday afternoon. However, he'll be joined by about 500 other players this weekend after the street is blocked off to accommodate the Because you Care Cup. The tournament is a fundraiser for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

The motorized, momentum-stopping, right-of-way-hogging interrupters of great games everywhere will be redirected between Prince and Dorchester streets to accommodate the charity street hockey tournament for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

Besides making for uninterrupted hockey action, Brad Jacobs thinks the downtown setting, blocked off to traffic, will set give an unquestionably Canadian image to all who witness it.

"I have a vision of being able to look down Charlotte Street and see nothing but people running around and playing road hockey, which I think is pretty neat," said the chief executive officer of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.

"And the fact that they are doing that to be able to give back to their hospital, I think is something special."

Two days of high-energy activity downtown are predicted as the hockey action plays out, offset by a soundstage blasting music and side activities for people to partake in.

A barbecue and a shooting contest are among the other activities that Jacobs expects to inject a lot of life into the downtown core.

"We are excited about doing something in a public forum," he said.

"We often don't get this opportunity as an organization who's prominently charged with raising money to do something in the community and giving back. I really do think in addition to raising money it is going to be something meaningful for the community, that people can get excited about."

Jacobs isn't the only one excited about the weekend.

Members of the Cape Breton Freeze and others like them won't sleep much while waiting for games to start.

"They were bugging me to go practice last night and (Friday) and so they have been pretty pumped," said Joe Campbell, who runs the boys elementary team with his son Brody. "Their first game they will play against their buddies, so that will make it even better."

Campbell said the idea to enter a team was his son's.

"I was in the hospital when we found out about it so we thought it would be a good idea to do it," he said about his major surgery related to Crohn's disease.

"I got pretty good treatment up there and everybody was great, so when Brody saw it he said we should do it."

With that successful surgery behind him, he's looking forward to seeing road hockey take over Charlotte Street.

"I don't see as much of it as when we were kids. I'm 35 and I remember that's what we did every day after school. You don't see as much of it, but something like this could hopefully bring it back around."

Early Saturday morning, a large crew of volunteers, offset by community support, will begin the monumental task of turning Charlotte Street into a road hockey venue.

Jacobs said the plan was to meet shortly after 5 a.m. to mark off eight separate playing courts and set up fencing.

About 80 teams will in boys, men, women and corporate divisions will take part on the playing surface those volunteers will build.

As of Friday afternoon, those players had raised about $15,000. That number was expected to grow throughout the weekend as more donations poured in and corporate sponsorships were counted.

Volunteers will be at Scotiabank on Charlotte Street throughout the weekend to collect donations. A fundraiser was also expected to take place during Friday's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hockey game, where about 500 of the tournament's participants gathered to help build their pre-tournament excitement.

All proceeds will be used for priority equipment purchases at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

At the end of play, the top fundraising team and not the tournament winners will win the Because You Care Cup, and Jacobs said that shows what the tournament is all about.

"I think there is going to be a lot of people who walk away feeling really excited about being able to participate in something that helps their local community."

gmcneil@cbpost.com

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