HockeyFest is back, and it’s bringing a high-tech Covid screening system with it
TIRED OF WAITING for the rinks to open back up for a game of pickup? Or, have you spent lockdown in the driveway honing your road hockey slapper? Well, time to tape up the blade, as the touring road hockey tournament HockeyFest is set to return to London next month as it kicks off a nine-city summer tour — and it’s bringing some high-tech Covid screening technology to boot.
HockeyFest, the “world’s largest travelling street hockey tournament,” will be kicking off on June 25th in London and will run until the 27th, taking place at Westmount Mall, before a summer tour with stops in PEI, Edmonton, Regina, Detroit and others.
All participants at HockeyFest will have to go through what’s called a Safe Entry Station, developed by Predictmedix, a Toronto-based AI company that pivoted from AI cannabis- and alcohol-impairment screening technology to infectious disease screening when the pandemic hit. Their highest profile deployment of the machines to date was at the Superbowl, where it was used during the weekend’s festivities to screen for Covid at VIP parties.
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“The artificial intelligence algorithm they have developed is going to be one of the key components in ensuring the safety of all our players and spectators at each of our events,” says Brad Jones, president of Jones Entertainment Group, the company behind the HockeyFest tour. (Jones Entertainment also manages Centennial Hall and is the organizer of the annual Start.ca Rocks the Park festival, which today announced it was postponing its summer 2021 festival until 2022 due to the pandemic).
“Travelling with the Safe Entry Systems has given us the opportunity to work with each local health unit in a much more diverse way than your standard contract tracing. This will be a game changer.”
According to Predictmedix, their AI screening systems rely on “military-grade multispectral cameras paired with proprietary, clinically-based artificial intelligence algorithms” that are able to “check for multiple symptoms associated with the coronavirus and immediately deliver an assessment.”
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All of this will be contingent on Covid lockdown regulations, as expected, but Jones Entertainment says it has worked closely with the London-Middlesex Health Unit as well as Mayor Ed Holder to develop a safety protocol for the event, which includes the Safe Entry Systems as well as more conventional sanitization methods.
“Hockey is more than just a sport,” adds Dr. Rahul Kushwah, COO of Predictmedix. “It is essential to the culture and spirit of Canada … as we expand into the live-event market, we are proud to partner with Jones Entertainment that carries a legacy of over 90 years in the making.” Kieran Delamont