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Surrey’s Toque Tuesday street hockey games move to Langley, homelessness focus intact

‘I did it 12 years in Surrey, and I was really close to canceling this year,’ says planner of charity event
Toque Tuesday action at Surrey Civic Plaza in 2017. (File photo)

Surrey’s annual Toque Tuesday charity event is on the move to Langley this year.

Over the past 12 years, street hockey games have been played outside Surrey City Hall in support of the Raising the Roof national campaign to draw attention to homelessness and related issues in the community.

The 2024 Toque Tuesday event is Feb. 6 at Langley Events Centre.

Held the first week of February, the gathering is planned by Tim Baillie, “Supreme Commander” of the charitable cause.

“It was just time,” Baillie said in a phone call Wednesday (Jan. 17). “I’m living out here now and I’m on the Township council, so I really should do the event out here.

“We’ve got the Vancouver Giants on board and they’re doing a sock-toss on the 10th (of February), which is the 50th anniversary of Langley Minor Hockey,” added the retired fire captain.

“I did it 12 years in Surrey, and I was really close to canceling this year. One, I’m just getting over a pretty bad sickness and two, my mom just passed away, and it’s just been busy. But then I put that out there (on social media) and a pile of people said, no, we want it to happen. So we’re doing it.”

Tim Baillie, the “Supreme Commander” of Toque Tuesday events in Surrey, at Surrey Civic Plaza in 2018. (File photo)

The street hockey games involve people from various organizations, agencies, companies and even politicians. An inflatable rink is set up for the friendly games, and everyone is encouraged to bring donations of cash and warm clothing.

It is a fun event about a very serious subject, Baillie underlines.

“Not only do we have fun playing street hockey (hockey skills are not needed or encouraged), we give profile to people and organizations that are in the field,” he noted in a Facebook post.

The event is open to the public to come watch, donate, eat a hot dog and sip on hot chocolate by donation, listen to people dealing with homelessness, play some street hockey and have some fun, Baillie explained.

“New winter clothing like socks, underwear, etcetera, is what we look for, but also hygiene items, good-condition winter wear, boots.”

The event goes on no matter the weather. “This is due to the fact that those on the street cannot cancel due to the weather, so neither do we,” Baillie said.

Following a couple years of COVID-caused cancellations, Toque Tuesday returned to Surrey Civic Plaza last February. At noon that day, a piper led players from city hall’s atrium to the temporary rink, for one ceremonial shot of Scottish tea and a 20-minute Indigenous welcome. By 12:30 p.m., the skies cleared and rain stopped.

Explained Baillie: “We’ve had firefighters play, Trilogy, Surrey Crime Prevention, and we have Surrey Urban Mission coming out, ILWU, the City Slickers from city hall, PCRS (Pacific Community Resources Society), some others. It’s just good to be back to normal playing the games again.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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