Monday, January 30, 2012

Old-Timers celebrate 33rd annual Tourney

Castaways vs Camfield at the
Oldtimers Tournament

C. Davis photo
Chris Davis/Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek's Memorial Community Centre was the site of the 33rd Oldtimer's Hockey Tournament last weekend.  Twelve teams divided into three divisions competed in 18 games for bragging rights, mickeys, steaks, and primarily just for the sheer fun of it.  Each team played 3 games.  Each game consisted of one 25 minute period and one 20 minute period, with the clock rolling throughout. The winning team in each division went home with 15 steaks to help them celebrate.

Olsons vs Nighthawks
C. Davis photo

Teams with local players included the Pincher Creakers, the Castaways, the Mystery Men, and the Olsons.

Castaways vs Ice Devils
C. Davis photo

Brian "Handyman" Wright

T. Lucas photo
The Olson family have been part of the tournament for many years.  This year they boasted the involvement of three generations of hockey players.  Cal "Pappy" Olson played for the Pincher Creakers and the Olson Team, Kevin Olson played for the Olson team, and young Maxwell Olson, just 5 1/2 years old, was being drafted early for future tournaments.  "Maxwell will be joining Team Olson in 34 and a half years," according to his dad Kevin.  "We love being here.  we have been part of it since 1987 and this tourney is the best ever," he said. "Pappy" Olson says that of all the tourneys he has ever played in "This one is always the best."

Kevin, Maxwell, and Cal "Pappy" Olsen
T. Lucas photo

Old Trailers vs Nighthawks
C. Davis photo

Randy Wittkopf of the Castaways has been part of the team for 6 years.  The team itself has been around for at least 15 years. "We Have been having fun so far," Witkopf said. "Great time, good hockey."

Castaways vs Camfield
C. Davis photo

Coach Dunlop Slapshot (aka Gord Francis) said the average age of the Pincher Creakers is 52 years, with players ranging in age from 35 (the youngest age to be eligible for the league) to 63.

Dan "The Detail Man" Crawford played for two teams in the tournament.  "Scores aren't important to us.  We play for fun," he said.  "At the end of the day, we don't care about the details if we are all having fun. We run a good tournament. Everybody is out to have a good time," said Crawford. "We will give each other a hard time, but it is over quick. Age doesn't matter. This is a friendly tournament, between friends."

Roast beast feast at the Community Hall
C. Davis photo

Dancing Queen
C. Davis photo
The tournament was punctuated with a fabulous dinner and dance at the Pincher Creek Community Hall on Saturday evening.  Roast pig was served, and a high energy cover band from Lethbridge,  Fast Times, played a wide variety of rock, pop, and country hits.  An excellent show, and you could dance to it.

The party continued into the wee hours, but didn't seem to have a negative effect on the quality of Sunday's games.
Fast Times from Lethbridge
C. Davis photo

Dancing to Fast Times
C. Davis photos

No comment!
C. Davis photo
Playing for big steaks
C. Davis photo

In general the quality of hockey played was superb.  The shorter-game  lends itself well to fast paced non-stop action.  These are all guys who clearly love the sport, and what little was lacking in youthful vigour was more than made up for in skill and pizazz.  The absence of checking put the focus on puck handling and passing plays.  It seemed to be a tougher game for goalies, with the pressure being on almost non-stop.  It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch.  Some of these guys might even be a match for our Midget Huskies someday.

You could feel the tang of regret that it was all over on Sunday as players packed their bags for home.  For some, like Bryan Elliott, it was a chance to come home and visit with family and old friends.

Final Standings:

Division A
  1. Undietakers
  2. Castaways
  3. Ice Devils

Division B
  1. Old Trailers
  2. Nighthawks
  3. Rats

Division C
  1. Withdrawals
  2. Creakers
  3. Mystery Men


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