|Walter Gretzky is hosting his annual street hockey tournament in Brantford, Ont., next weekend. (QMI Agency/Alex Urosevic)
BRANTFORD, Ont. -- The fourth annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in the Great One's hometown next week is set to be a record-breaker.
Organizers have achieved their ambitious goal of drawing more than 200 teams for the tournament, topping the previous Guinness World Record of 192 teams entered in a B.C. event in 2007.
When registrations closed Wednesday, 205 teams had signed up for the tournament. The organizing committee plans to file an application to Guinness right after the event to recognize its achievement.
The Brantford, Ont., event received a huge boost from film producer Kevin Smith who brought a team of friends to the tourney last year.
He then started touting both the tourney and the Guinness goal on TV shows and talk radio programs.
"I love you Canada and can't thank you enough," Smith said in a news release. "You came through for Wally in a big way!"
Smith once again will host a ribald comic night he dubs Stocky Night in Canada 2 at the Sanderson Centre on June 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at www.stockynight.com.
Smith, who is a huge Walter Gretzky fan, said the idea to set a record came from Clayton Hernden, the general manager of Brantford's Ball Hockey International.
Last year, the tourney raised more than $12,000 for the city's Sports Infrastructure Legacy Fund. And then Smith donated an additional $10,000 to the fund.
Along with the games, there will be a Hockeyfest concert that runs on Friday with local talent, and Saturday with some of the country's top names: Our Lady Peace, The Trews and Marianas Trench.
The weekend will also feature a number of children's events.
And, of course, Walter Gretzky will be there, too.
"It is really Walter who we're supporting. He does so much for our community and a lot of times we forget to thank him," says Pat Shewchuk, co-ordinator of the Tournament Capitol of Ontario, helping co-ordinate the tournament.
As result, the Walter and Wayne Gretzky Scholarship Foundation for the Blind Youth of Canada will be receiving a portion of the money raised through scholarships.
"It makes me very happy because I'm the one who phones these students to say that the committee has decided they're going to be recipients of a scholarship and I hear what happens at the other end. It's incredible and brings tears to my eyes," says Walter.
Wayne's dad was in Toronto Monday to promote the tournament.