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Humanizing homelessness with street hockey, video in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Humanizing homelessness with hockey video' Humanizing homelessness with hockey video
Humanizing homelessness with hockey video – Oct 22, 2019

It’s a typical Canadian scene: A street hockey game in Kelowna.

This game, however, is taking place downtown, on unlikely Leon Avenue.

And the home team? It’s a group of players who are part of another typical scene on Leon Avenue — the homeless scene.

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Also unlikely: A film crew capturing the scene.

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“What we are going to do is we are going to be staggering people kind of on an off,” a man with a bull horn says as he directs players.

That man is Curtis Allen of Solid Rock Video productions. His film crew has set up shop in front of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission in order to capture a unique event.

“We are doing a video to humanize the homeless on Leon,” said Allen.

“And we thought what better way to do it than what kind of weaves us all together as Canadians is our love of sport — in specific, hockey.”

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The City of Kelowna helped make this game happen by providing the permit to stop traffic for it.

“Because we shut down the street . . . nobody had to yell ‘car,’” Allen added.

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The organizers even invited some community players to play along, like the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors.

The concept, say organizers, is using hockey sticks to help build a bridge between the homeless and the community.

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The video will feature Gospel Mission clients talking about hockey, and what it meant to them growing up.

“It’s going to be a great way of showing we are all the same, we are all human,” said Mike Morrison of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

Tom, who didn’t want to give his last name, was one the few players with no fixed address. He liked the idea of the video.

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“I think some interaction is good; it’s nice to see people down here,” said Tom, who lives in a tent on Leon, and says more people should spend some time seeing what it’s like living on the streets.

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“I think everyone should come down here for 24 hours, or a week, and learn some humility and compassion,” Tom said.

The video is set to debut at the end of November on the internet as part of a fundraising campaign for the Gospel Mission.

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