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Newmarket, Aurora squaring off for Battle of Yonge Street

Bragging rights at stake in 15th annual weekend hockey tournament with storied 'huge rivalry' fuelling play
Newmarket's Battle of Yonge Street will be running for the first time in three years.

The Newmarket Renegades and Aurora Tigers will square off once again for the Battle of Yonge Street hockey weekend starting tonight.

Teams from both organizations will compete in both towns in a weekend event dedicated to the rivalry. It will kick off with a doubleheader starting at 7 p.m. tonight, Oct. 21, featuring the U18A and U18AA squads battling at the Magna Centre.

Newmarket Minor Hockey Association vice-president of rep alternate Izak Westgate said it is good to be back doing the event for the first since time 2019 due to the pandemic.

“The fact that it’s our 15th annual is important from a historical perspective,” he said. “It’s one of those weekends on the calendar that all of our teams look forward to. It builds a little excitement early in the season.”

The event features a drive for the Newmarket Food Pantry all weekend long, and vendors will be set up at the Magna Centre. Dignitaries will also be on hand for a ceremonial puck drop to start the weekend, including Newmarket and Aurora mayors. Player of the game honours and gift bags will also be given out in each contest.

At the end of the weekend, officials will tally the score between the two sides. One town gets declared the winner based on how many of their teams win. A trophy will then be presented at the final game.

This year will be a tiebreaker, with both sides having won the event seven times each. 

“I know from being here for 16 years now that it is a huge rivalry,” Westgate said. “Everybody gets up for the games against Aurora more so than when you play another team.” 

This year will also be the first time the organizations will be selling Battle of Yonge Street merchandise. They will gauge interest and potentially extend it next year depending on the uptake, Westgate said.

“We just thought, let’s try something different. We create a logo, which will be on the shirts we’re selling,” he said. “Hopefully, it goes well and it’s popular.” 

It is going to be a fun weekend of hockey, Westgate said.

“It’s important to come out and support your local association and sports,” he said. “But at the same time, you get a lot of great hockey action, and you can also help support the food pantry and a bunch of local businesses … It’s just a great weekend for everyone to come to the rink and have some fun.” 

Organizers are still looking for volunteers. You can find details on the NMHA website