HOCKEY: Older legs still skate to win at ‘One Last Time’ tourney (photos)

NORTH DELTA — They aren’t particularly fast. They don’t crash and bash as much as they bump and nudge. And when they lose their footing, they tend to take a good long while getting back up again.

But there’s something about these guys that keeps your eyes glued to the ice. Their positional play is superb. They guard the puck like nobody’s business and pass and receive it as if Howie Meeker himself had drawn it up on his telestrator. In short, there’s an intelligence and a level of skill to their game that goes beyond that of typical adult rec hockey.

But this isn’t typical adult rec hockey.

Upstairs in Boomers Bar and Grill, the pub that overlooks two of the four rinks at North Delta’s Planet Ice, Ralph Haugland preps the goodies.

A few T-shirts, some bottles of wine and boxes of golf balls, and a joyfully hideous trophy comprising a hunk of lumber, a manual wood planer and a protective cup – presumably unused.

They call it “Stanley’s Cup.”

Haugland, rotator cuff injury and all, is the chairman of the six-team tournament unfolding below. Soon, dozens of weary players will arrive for post-tourney food, drinks, conversation, and awards. But not before Haugland drops the bombshell.

This is the “One Last Time Spring Tournament,” the final 2014-2015 season fling for the 70-plus division of the Greater Vancouver Oldtimers Hockey Association. And as the name suggests, none of the players is under the age of 70. A couple of them top the 80 mark.

So how is it that these guys can look so darned good out there?

For one thing, says Haugland, “It’s recreation, sure. But we play to win. This is far more intense than pick-up hockey.”

But one glimpse of South Surrey’s Dennis Anderson, a defenceman currently on injured reserve with a separated shoulder, and you really begin to catch on.

Anderson may be 72, but he looks a couple decades younger and is built like a brick house. He didn’t even begin playing ice hockey until his late 40s – a time when most have already given it up – but was a ball hockey and gym veteran long before that. These days, Anderson regularly sails off into the Fraser Valley on his road bike.

Keith Scott wanders in, broken ribs and all. A resident of Ocean Park, Scott played Tier 2 Junior A in Ontario many moons ago, worked a stint in the air force, and continued to play throughout his life.

He says he loves the Over-70 league because there’s no way, at the tender young age of 82, he could keep up with the wee pups in the Over-60 league.

Over there is Cam Kerr. Kerr played Junior with the Saskatoon Blades before spending four years with the Brigham Young University team. He’s since coached Midget and Junior and national U18s, and owned a hockey school on Vancouver Island. He’s now a scout for the national women’s squad.

The introductions continue and it soon becomes clear that most of these dudes live and breathe the sport. Potential injury, it would seem, is something this group is quite willing to endure, though Haugland cautions that provisions are in place should more serious stuff occur.

“We have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) at each rink in the (Planet Ice) complex, at the player’s bench. And at least once a year we have a Red Cross guy come over and teach us how to use the machine.

“We had to use it one time… last year during a game. It was successful.”

The pub is full and boisterous now, everyone sharing stories and wings and beers. Haugland takes a quick look around.

“Hockey is one fine game, isn’t it?”

For more details about the Greater Vancouver Oldtimers Hockey Association, email Ralph Haugland at ralph@norquip.com or call him, 604-830-0295.

Goble@shaw.ca

STORY FROM SEPTEMBER 2014: Old-timers lace up for season in Delta

 

 

Just Posted

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s unsung heroes inspire

The Now-Leader was proud to celebrate some deserving unsung heroes in this city on Wednesday night

North Delta family raising money for brain cancer treatment

23-year-old Tashina Janus and her family are raising funds to get her immunotherapy in the U.S.

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Surrey mayor claims he can extend Skytrain for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Most Read