Vernon Tigers, from left, Graydon Brown, Marty Stein, Terry Mosdell and Dale Rintoul display their championship rings at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

B.C. lacrosse legends celebrate Canadian titles, life after crash

Vernon Senior B lacrosse team survived a 1976 plane crash after victory in Winnipeg

Vernon, B.C. — Like at most reunions, the Vernon Tigers swapped stories, caught up with how the family was and snapped photos with joy.

The big difference with this weekend gathering was that many players from the three-time national Senior B lacrosse team were feeling extremely grateful to be alive.

The Tigers marked the 40th anniversary of their third-straight President’s Cup, but the bigger story was how the 1976 group survived a plane crash into a farmer’s field near Pincher Creek, Alta. Sept. 8 on the way home from Winnipeg.

RELATED: Legendary Vernon lacrosse team reunion will recount titles, terror

Barry Lapointe, the Kelowna Flightcraft pilot who pulled off an emergency crash-landing of a DC-3, saving all 26 passengers on the plane, received the most hugs and handshakes at the reunion, which attracted 62 players, wives and team staff.

“There were some rumours somebody was smoking in the washroom, but Barry said in his speech that a heater had overloaded and there was lots of smoke,” said Marty Stein, who organized the reunion and had taken an earlier flight home. “(Jeff Shirley) Spook told Barry there was smoke coming out of the washroom and he got all the players to the back of the plane. Alice Rintoul (Tiger Dale Rintoul’s wife) maybe said it best when she said ‘If it weren’t for this man (Lapointe), there would be no kids or grandkids for a lot of us.”

Stein said Lapointe also cleared up just exactly where the plane, jazzed up with lounges, couches and poker tables, originated.

“It was an old plane and Barry said it was the only type that could have landed like that. Some guys thought it was Frank Sinatra’s plane or Bing Crosby’s, but it actually was Conrad Hilton’s.”

Stein said captain Jamie McKenzie, a licensed pilot who joined team GM Wolfgang Gachter in calming the player and taking charge of the evacuation, also spoke Saturday night at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

“Jamie talked about how inspiring our team was and he talked about things a lot of us had forgotten. He spoke for about 20 minutes and was just awesome.”

A total of 21 Tigers purchased commemorative rings marking all three Canadian victories, the other two coming in Edmonton and Vernon.

“Our president Art Horsley did an incredible job for us,” said Stein. “We, as athletes, we never knew what was going in with fundraising and behind-the-scenes stuff. “Danny Holte and Rick (Horsley) bought Art a ring and he was so happy. That was a touching moment.”

Stein said coverage of the plane crash in last Friday’s Morning Star was a history lesson for the younger Vernon generation.

“I talked to a lot of oldtimers and they, of course, remembered the story, but some of the guys’ kids hadn’t heard much about it. It was a big story at the time and is a big part of Vernon’s sports history.”

There were five groups golfing Saturday and Stein said there were no aces or stellar scores, “just a lot of laughs and chuckles.”

Added Stein: “It was 40 years since our ‘78 team but it was like someone pressed pause and we just kept talking.”

Stein plans to lobby the City of Vernon to raise a banner honouring the Tigers at Kal Tire Place.

RELATED: Civic Arena to be demolished


@VernonNews
sports@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Gary Gilchrist of the Vernon Tigers, middle, draws some laughs from teammates Marty Stein, left, and Doug Hengel as they get ready to play a round of golf Saturday during their reunion. (Toby Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Marty Stein of the Vernon Tigers swings away as the three-time senior lacrosse team teed off in a 40-year reunion gathering Saturday. (Tobias Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Just Posted

One man dead after crash at Highway 10 and 152 Street in Surrey

Pedestrian hit by two vehicles: Surrey RCMP

Replica totem pole to be raised at Peace Arch Park

‘Reconciliation ceremony’ will include SFN leaders, provincial politicians

ELECTION QUESTIONS: Does Surrey need its own police force?

Who’s on the right side of Surrey RCMP’s contract issue debate? That’s for voters to decide on Oct. 20

WEB POLL: Is Surrey a safer city since the last election?

Crime and public safety continue to be hot button election issues

Delta resident raises more than $100K for Easter Seals

Archie Campbell has rappelled down the side of a building six times to raise money for disabled kids

VIDEO: Tour de Valley riders visit Surrey elementary school

Students create signs to support riders

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read