A group of business owners on King Street organized a spontaneous game of road hockey on the east-west thoroughfare this afternoon to protest the city’s King Street Transit Pilot.
“You can’t be nice on the ice anymore — we’ve been talking to deaf ears” said Kit Kat owner Al Carbone, who helped organize the event.
The pilot project, which launched in the fall, prioritizes streetcars over other vehicles between Jarvis and Bathurst streets.
Carbone said the initiative has turned the Entertainment District into a ghost town during the day and has had a serious impact on local business profits.
Former NHL player Jarrod Skalde — now a player development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins — was there to show his support.
“For 25 years, I’ve been going to the Kit Kat, when I played against the Maple Leafs,” he said.
“Took my teammates there, I wanted to support Al and get the chance to play ball hockey on King.”
The city said it understands the importance of supporting businesses, but it’s also focussed on moving traffic on the once-gridlocked street.
“The mayor is committed to the year-long King Street Pilot and its objectives, and will focus on real data and meaningful actions that will ensure that we are improving the movement of people along one of our busiest transit routes, while keeping the corridor vibrant and supporting local business,” a spokesperson said.
Carbone said he’s not giving up and plans on organizing more games of shinny.