Nobody kept score after the first half-dozen goals or so, but everybody was counting the smiles before, during and after the first-ever (first annual?) “Celebrity Shinny” match at the Sorauren Park natural ice rink last February 2. The mighty red team from The West End Phoenix stared down the home-town Sorauren Hosers All-Stars sporting their blue tops.

The all-ages game went for two hours in perfect conditions.

Staff and friends from publisher Dave Bidini’s local independent newspaper, The West End Phoenix, were fended off by volunteers from the Sorauren Park rink crew, who call themselves the Hosers. Members include Arif Virani, MP Parkdale-High Park, and ringer Emily in goal. The Hosers, who build and maintain the rink, were led by Joël Campbell, chair of non-profit Friends of Sorauren Park, who demonstrated the speediness, poise and puck-handling for which they are now renowned.

Officials kept trash talk to a minimum and there were no penalty minutes.

The two non-profit organizations depend on community support to serve residents. The monthly West End Phoenix ( relies entirely on subscribers and patrons and is devoted to telling the stories of our diverse, compelling and quickly evolving west-end neighborhoods including Roncy, Parkdale, Brockton, High Park and beyond. Friends of Sorauren Park ( relies on volunteers and supporters to promote the enjoyment and completion of Sorauren Park, in collaboration with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Rink sponsors this year include Chander Chaddah, Sutton Group-Associates; Scooter Girl Toys; and Snap Fitness High Park.

The Sorauren rink celebrated the 10th anniversary of its modern era this year — old-timers will remember efforts to keep earlier rinks going from fire hydrants.