Category Archives: oldtimers

The Golden Boot – 2020

So…here we go eh?  Another year in the W has passed and the season ending tourney played out in all its sporting glory.  Even in these strange times, the show must go on, no?  Buckle up boys, and I’ll do my best to chronicle how this year’s event went down.

There were some moments that my interpretation or memory of you may want to dispute, but since we have no official protest mechanism in the WOHL, you’ll just have to submit a comment at the bottom of this tale and hope you find some mates who agree with you (although I doubt it will change this official record).

In a twist that made my work here easier, the teams today were left as-is from the second half – no re-draft for the tournament!  Who said old guys are set in their ways?

9:00: Puck Drop – White vs Black 

Without any bias, I will say that the Black team was really built for a day just like this.  We finished up the season without a loss in the final 2 weeks and had momentum on our side.  Sadly, that went sideways early when White’s Reg Leland scored 31 seconds in.  Frickin’ guy should be named Reg Leach with those goal-scoring hands of his.  Year after year, he just scores.

With the defense-first philosophy both teams were built on, it was no surprise this one stayed a low scoring affair.  Black had 7 break-aways that became 1 on 1’s with Cowie, Schwindt and Culbert’s speed on the White blue-line. (Hmmm…a white blue line, that’s odd, eh?).  Even Ireland appeared to be staying right there with his peers in this respect – admirable given that speed isn’t really his thing.  Interesting that none of these break-aways were thwarted by a back-checking White forward.

Dan Dawson ripped one home from the blue-line with a buck fifty to go and this one ended in a tie.  Nothing like a tie to confuse the dressing room talk about who has to beat who in the next 5 games to win the prize.

9:50: Red vs Gold

Ok, we all knew it was game-on when Frey and Farrell (in his first game back from an upper body injury) dropped the flippers on the first shift after Farrell gave Frey a bit of a face-wash after a whistle.  Both teams hammered the boards with sticks as the warriors skated to the sin-bin, in a show of old school hockey appreciation.

Gold scored on the resulting power-play (Farrell took an extra 2 for slashing his own teammate Warmington on the way to the penalty box, showing just how pumped up he was to be playing again).

In a play that surprised everyone, Scott Murie scored to tie it with Eckmeier dropping back to cover for him.  (As I said, strange times we live in boys).

The score stayed tied until about 10 minutes to go with Meyer and Brunkard trading big saves with flashes of leather, pad stacks, and Dryden leg-kicks.  Then, Murie scored again to give red the lead. Sadly, doing a pony-ride the length of the ice afterwards a la Theo Fleury and being mobbed by the Martin brothers didn’t sit well with Gold who then mounted a furious counter attack resulting in a goal by Kirkland on a pretty pass by Rajna.  There have been some beauty pairs in this wonderful game of ours over the years (think Hull and Oates, Trottier and Bossy, Yzerman and Errey (Peterborough Petes in early 80’s), Gretz and Kurri) but has there been a better pair than Kirdland and Rajna?  I think not.

Just when it looked like a second consecutive tie might be in he offing, Trimble banged in rebound off a Domzy point blast that secured the win for Gold late.  But a coach’s challenge sent this one upstairs and the goal was waived off because of crease violation and Game two likewise ended in a tie!  Oh the intrigue!

10:40: White vs Red

Scottie Bowman once said that the 3rd game of any series is the key game.  Not sure if that applies to a round-robin tournament with 4 teams but let’s go with it for dramatic effect.

So…no surprise about the story line here – Meyer vs Taylor between the pipes.  Sort of like Caesar Maniago vs Alan Bester – just really, really entertaining goal-tending.  (Yes, it was a goal-fest with White outlasting Red 6-5).

Reg Leach had a pair for White, continuing his tear, as did Paola with Culbert and Richardson getting singles. Interesting stats side-note is that Cowie tied a WOHL record by picking up 7 assists for the White side’s 6 markers.  Yes, there is some question about the accuracy of this but the league verified this post-game so congrats Chris!

Red’s contributions came from up and down the line-up, but their defense-last philosophy didn’t help them in the outcome of this one.  Eckmeier got the hattie, Mr Knicely had a single and Chris Martin also scored after playing catch with his brudder on a pretty passing play (but yes, he was still behind the offensive red line in the corner when he took the shot).  Defensemen had assists on all 5 Red goals, almost tying Cowie’s individual stats on the other side.

11:30:  Black vs Gold

Clearly, the dressing snacks pre-game played a role in this one.  Both teams looks sluggish and tired and old, which when you think about it, kind of describes our stage of life so let’s own that look, shall we?

Gold opened the scoring on a fine 5-touch play that went from Aldous to Taylor to the Millionaire (sorry Brent, after 5 minutes of switching screens to try and spell your name correctly I just went with word that is easier to spell) to Hilko and then the other Taylor.

Gold scored again to go up 2-0 half way through and Black’s goose was cooked because we all know first goal usually wins and a 2-goal lead could reasonably trigger a mercy rule in these tournament games.

But wait!  With our season on the line, Black stormed back with late goals. Duncan did one of is patented end-to-ends, cut across the blue, pivoted to his fore-hand a ripped a wicked snapshot off the iron and in.  After the net stopped crying from the pain, Black came back again in short order and Bernie, with those silky mitts, knocked in a rebound reminiscent of Dino the Dog Cicerelli.  (Bernie’s 578 WOHL goals now have him 9th on the all time list by the way.)

In a move that eerily harkened back to a WOHL game from years past, Gold pulled their goalie in the last minute thinking they were down a goal.  Russell Hon, cross-eyed from lack of sleep after the recent arrival of a baby in his family, showed resilience and fired the biscuit 180 feet into the middle of the yawning cage with just 3 second left on the ticker to secure the win for Black.

Asked for a comment about how Gold got confused about the score in such a key moment, Rajna stormed off the stage at the post-game press scrum.

12:20: White vs Gold

White decided to leave it all out there in their 3rd and final game and came out flying.  Could have been the summer sausage, or the veg, but they were good.  Very good.  Kernel lead the way, as leaders will do at big moments.  He scored early on a pretty feed from Buchanan and the duo followed that up with another beauty two shifts later with Kernel getting the helper on Jamie’s ripper from the slot.

Down two, Gold’s crafty d-man Ian Taylor threw off his stay-at-home defensive armor and decided to join the rush.  Every rush.  Like every friggin’ rush, even those rushes where his team didn’t have control and it wasn’t really a rush.  Yes, as Gord Down wrote in The Lonely End of Rink, “Oh to join the rush!”  In fact, Taylor joined the rush so often it could only mean one thing – his brudder was in the opposing cage.  Sadly, the crest on said brudder’s jersey must have looked like a bulls-eye to him as every shot he took hit baby brudder right about there.  (Kudo’s to Andrew – it’s probably all he gave him).  However, the elder Taylor bro did wildly miss the net on one of his shots and it caromed out the other side where Hilko slammed it home to cut the lead in half.

It looked like it might end this way until the other gold Taylor, in his office in the neutral zone, snared a long lead pass from the old brother Taylor, and he proceeded to go 5-hole on the breakaway to tie things with two to go.  Taylor from Taylor against Taylor.  Karma is definitely either a babe or a bitch, isn’t it?

Sadly for White, Gold continued to press and forced that most hideous of mental errors in the W, the “last minute icing” with Gold’s tender out for the extra attacker.  I won’t name names here because I really didn’t see what happened by two rumours circulated post game: 1) goalie Taylor tried to score on the empty cage so he could finish the game tied with his brother in points and 2) Cowie tried to score thinking one more point would break the all-time tournament record for points.

Anyhoo…Gold was awarded the penalty shot, and Rajna, still steaming from the prior game’s goalie-pull debacle, pulled off a beautiful Forsberg to seal the win in dramatic fashion.

Come on!  Who isn’t excited about how this is going so far??!!

1:10: Black vs Red – (last game of the tournament too!)

A classic grudge match closed things out.  Match-ups were everywhere, with both teams shuffling like heavyweights looking for the advantage.  Gerson vs Thomas, Doerbecker vs Chevreau, Abbot vs Warmington, Duncan vs the Martin brudders, Further vs Bowra – cagey veterans, speed vs strength, hockey IQ vs will to win.  Clearly, there was no tomorrow today.

Heimpel was huge early and stunned Red with his wide speed being too much to handle and turning that into a pair of goals before the game was 5 minutes old.

Doerbecker and Abbot traded goals from the point leaving Black with a 3-1 lead.  But it wasn’t to be for Black.  Red stormed back, with Doerbecker going to coast to coast for his second of the game against his boyo in net to cut the lead to 1.  Tim Martin then fired one of his beauty wristers top corner to tie it.

Yours truly had a chance to win the drink for the Black side with 3 minutes to go but I toe-picked on a break-away from centre ice and swam to the bench embarrassed afterwards.  The puck went the other way and shortly afterwards, Warmington drilled home the eventual winner.

When asked post-game if he sees any comparisons between his shot and Mr Mathews of the Leafs, Warmington agreed there were some similarities.  Ah, the greats eh?

And The Winner Is…?

I’ll let you boys take it from here.  I hope you get over the aches and pains quickly lads.  Have a good summer, keep your stick on the ice and hopefully we’ll all be out there again soon.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Great Games, oldtimers, tournaments, Uncategorized, WOHL

Lizard Liquor, Racoon Roadkill and The Great Pumpkin

Charles Schulz would have been proud if he’d been in Elmira today.  The creator of the Peanuts comic strip was an avid hockey fan.   However, as well as creating Charlie Brown and his merry band of carousing guy buddies, his colourful pooch Snoopy and some pretty saucy young dames, he also gave life to the unseen character known as the Great Pumpkin.

And so, had he been in Elmira today, he would have witnessed something almost as rare as a spotting of the Great Pumpkin itself, and that is the victory of the Golden Boot by the W’s Orange team (aka. Pumpkin).   It is well known lore in the W that Orange is a cursed colour to play for.   As Warmington said after the game, if you play for Orange, that should be worth about a 20 goal handicap before blades hit the ice.

But today was their day, from the jamming home of a goal on their first shift against my mates on White to their 3-0 record when all the games ended, today was a beautiful day to be Orange.

However, the W’s season finale isn’t really about winning.  (Ok, we all try pretty hard to win and White thinks it really should have won but that’s a topic for a different day).  No, the finale is more about enjoying all the good things that come from a bunch of like-minded blokes laughing and joking their way through a half a day each year to finish off a season.   During the regular season, you get maybe 15-20 minutes before and after each game to socialize (less if you’re me or Tim Ireland, more if you are the Sedin Twins, Jimmy David or Bernie).  On the day of the season ending tournament, you get to know people better.  Here’s a sampling of stuff I didn’t know when I woke up this morning:

– Warmington once picked up a road-killed racoon and threw it in the back of his Ford station wagon one winter night thinking he would give it to one of his buddies who traded coon pelts.  However, he promptly forgot about it, traded the Ford in one fine spring day before the thaw and heard later about the discovery coming as it did after some strange aromas needed to be investigated on the used car lot.

– Fulch’s Dad once decided the campground-sold firewood wasn’t for him and headed down the road into the bush, found a log to throw into the back of the wagon and drove back to the campground only to scare the beejeezus out of his travelling companion uncle when they discovered, much to the pain of his snake-fearing uncle that there was a snake’s nest in the log.  While “Snakes-in-a-Car” isn’t the snappy Hollywood title that “Snakes on a Plane” was, the fact that this was for real made it a better story

– someone’s hockey bag once had a nest of mice in it and they decided to leave their home while the owner and bag were en route to the rink in the car.  Again, this even less scary than Snakes-in-a-car but it has does have a charm of its own as hockey-bag stories go.  Upon hearing this someone commented “Where the hell does he keep his bag?”

– Ref Rich indicated that ref’ing some college girl games enabled him to learn that not all girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice.  While Rich doesn’t get intimidated by anyone in the W and is quite happy to laugh off any of us who get wound up at him for his calls / non-calls during the season, I think I heard his voice quiver a little as he described some of these college-girl games

– lastly, and I’m a bit biased in favour of Pat’s story-telling abilities, his story about a business trip to China was just as funny to me on the third telling as it was in the first.  (On the third go, we were sitting in Red’s dressing room eating their food and drinking their bevies after it had become clear they weren’t going to help us win by beating Orange in the final game).  In this particular yarn, which is too weird to be made up and proves that truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction, Pat outlined how business on this particular trip seemed to get done during the big lunch and dinner feasts that had the eatees drowning in all kids of booze.  (In fact, I believe the Indonesian fellow who fell off his chair may have in fact actually drowned).   One morning after a particularly heavy feast the night before, one that Pat described by stating things were getting “pretty cloudy at the end”, they entered some chairman’s private dining room only to discover what appeared to be a five-gallon aquarium with a dead lizard on a stick, half in / half out of the aquarium, with all manner of fungus and seaweed and ginseng and other assorted life forms bubbling and growing.  “That’s ugly.” Pat suggested to his Canuck sidekick.  Ugly would have been fine had it not turned for the worse after lunch when the ladles came out and the hosts started pouring this unique brand of kool-aid into glasses for the businessmen to drink.  Makes a nice pull on on a cold beer after a game of hockey to chase down some smoke-cured sausage seem so civilized doesn’t it?

And so, another year is in the books.  The Golden Boot goes to Orange.  Here’s to Monday night’s symposium where we relive today one more time over chicken wings and just enough vegetables to make ourselves believe we’re eating healthy and staying in shape for next season.  And here’s to the second Monday in September when we open up those musty hockey bags and, after checking things first based on the what we learned from the tales above, throw on our gear to begin a new season.

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Filed under Food, Friendships, oldtimers, Quotes, Smells, tournaments, WOHL

A go-to Beer

Heard an interesting comment from a fellow player recently.  We were discussing the joy one gets from a post-game beer.  Now this cat is one who knows, and loves, beer.  I forget which one he was describing (I am an oldtimer after all and this conversation didn’t happen today) but he called it his “go-to beer” for just such an occasion as a post game presents.   Finer words have never been uttered by a hockey player.  Hockey player, poet, one and the same really.

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The New Guy

I played pickup with a gang in St. Jacob’s last night.  I’ve played with these guys once or twice before but that was a couple of years back and I definitely felt like the new guy in the room.

However, being the new guy isn’t all bad.  You get to listen to a bunch of strangers trash each other and you generally figure out who the clown’s are, who the quiet guys are and how this group is like every other group of players you’ve ever played with.

It was a fun hour, although my side got kicked around pretty badly.  Hope I wasn’t supposed to be the ringer.

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To Play Or To Celebrate One’s Wedding Anniversary?

This is a true story.  As captain of the blue team for the second half of the season, I have the privilege of organizing spares when one of the regulars cannot make it.  Last night, one of our regulars was unable to make it and I had arranged earlier in the week for spare who, at the last minute phoned to cancel as well because his wife and kids had come down with the flu that afternoon.  (“Meaning what?” I asked him but that’s another story).

So, a couple of hours prior to game time, I had to go all old-school and resort to phoning guys on the spare list instead of the email-blast during the day that is so much easier.   Several unsuccessful phone calls into the list, I get a guy on the other end and our conversation goes something like this:

Me:  “Hi, can you spare for us tonite at 9:00?”

Spare-Wannabe: “Ohhhhhh man, I’m just going out the door to dinner with my wife for our 15th anniversary.”

Me: “Um…ok, so…..you can’t make it then?   I mean, I understand this might be a tough sell but….so…you can’t make it then?”

Spare-Wannabe: “Um….no, I don’t think so.  You are right.  This would be a very tough sell.  I’d love to play though and thanks for asking.”

Me:  “No worries, I’ll catch you again some other time.”

Spare-Wannabe: “Um…….what time is the game?”

Me: “9:00 PM”

Spare-Wannabe, after a lengthy pause: “Ah….ok then, no, I definitely can’t make it.  I was just thinking that if it was the 10:00 game, I might have been able to get back from dinner in time to make it.”

Me: “Got it.  May next time.  Later.”

Click.

As I recounted this story in our dressing room later that night, the one young guy on the team (yes we are allowed to use one young guy if he’s a goalie and we cannot find an old goalie) says  “Oh man, that’s a 15th anniversary going on none.”  The rest of us chuckled.  Young guys are so naive.

You see, the beauty of playing oldtimer is that you are playing with guys who are old and in almost every case, old guys have old wives.  Perhaps on a 5th anniversary, a young buck might have wanted nothing more than to hustle home after a dinner out with his date and stay home.   At some point in life though, there is the transition where you become an oldtimer and an oldtimer is one who has reasonable expectations about life, hockey and marriage, and, equally important, so does his wife.

An oldtimer is one who can go out for the anniversary dinner and still play the game afterwards.  It’s a win-win for him and his mate because after all those years, it isn’t likely he’s gonna get lucky after dinner anyway so he might as well go play.  From the point of view of the missus, if he doesn’t have hockey to go after dinner, he’s just going to bother her all night like he was a young buck, so him going to hockey is a nice way for her to finish the evening too.

Now, if the oldtimer scores a couple on such a night, well that’s icing on the ‘ol wedding cake and might just might be worth waking up his better half to tell when he gets home after a pop with the boys.  You never know, she might still be proud of his hockey skills after all those years and decide to reward him for keeping his stick on the ice.

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Filed under oldtimers, Wives and Girlfriends

The Speed of the Game

It is said that hockey is the fastest game in the world.  Maybe, but I think perhaps that doesn’t apply to old-timer hockey.

I was sitting on the bench last night as one of our defenceman came off for a change as the puck moved out of our end and up ice.   He sat down and a few seconds later, (at least a few), the good guys scored at the other end.  He looked down the bench at me and said “I think I got an assist on that goal!”  I think he did too but it made us both chuckle.  Only in the W can one get a legitimate assist after having rested up on the bench for a bit.

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No Sweeter Victory

Is there anything sweeter in sport than a comeback victory?  Nope, didn’t think so.  The Blue team clawed back from 3-0 down at the end of the first tonight for a 4-3 win.  Who says Monday’s are the worst day of the week?

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Bud

A sad day for hockey in Peterborough yesterday when Bud McDougall, a local with deep roots in the hockey and lacrosse community, passed away.  I have been best friends with his middle son Dan since I was in my early teens and good friends with Mike and Paul his other two sons.  All were hockey players as was their sister Diane.

He was always known as Bud, although I don’t know where / how / when we acquired this name.  Mike actually called him bud rather than Dad on most occasions I saw them together.  Bud’s dad was known as Shrimp McDougall (both were officially named Harold) and Shrimp played in the NHL for a brief period when Bud was very young.

Bud was a co-founder of the Jeff Purvey’s Fish and Chip Restaurant sponsored “Purvey Petes” later renamed the Peterborough Petes Oldtimers.  Oldtimers perhaps, but boy could those old boys play hockey.  I remember our high school team would have a tune-up match against these guys before attending the Father David Bauer Tournament in Toronto in the late70’s and early 80’s.

We were a decent high school team that went to the OFSSA championship semi-finals two years in a row…but we couldn’t touch the puck in the fall against these guys.  No, Bud and his band of merry hockey men would skate the beejeezus out of us young bucks.  It was quite a clinic and a lot of fun.  We usually played them a second time in the winter half of the season and I recall we may have beat them by that point but that may just be optimism in what is now this oldtimer’s mind.

Bud – you’ll be missed.

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Lou Angotti, Dennis Kearns and the Kansas City Scouts

After our WOHL game tonite, Mike Paola asked if anyone remembered the name Lou Angotti.  Given the age of the guys in the room, most did.   I immediately remembered him as a Minnesota North Star (a team he never played for) while most of the others nailed him correctly as a Black Hawk for most of his NHL years.   Sadly I have no hockey card memory of Lou.  A quick google search shows he also played the 1962-63 season here in the KW area with the KW Tigers before moving on to the Rochester Americans.  Who knew?

Mike also tossed out the name Dennis Kearns who several also remembered (including me correctly) as a Canuck.  Proof positive is in the accompanying card image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also a bit of banter about some other players and old teams that came and went until we stumbled on one we couldn’t solve in the room via consensus – when did the Kansas City Scouts enter the league?  As luck would have it, and as the song “2 outta 3 ain’t bad” suggests, I also had a card for that – 1974!

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For Old-Timer Hockey Players, It’s As Fun As It Ever Was

Great feature article  in today’s KW Record on old-timer hockey.  A couple of guys in their 70’s and 80’s are quoted about what the game is like at their age.   From their perspective, and one shared by most guys I play with, is that it still as much fun (if not more) than it was when we were kids.

We’re slower, we don’t shoot as hard, there’s no hitting or slapshots and overall we’re just not as good, nor is the overall quality of hockey.  But we play very much the same way we did as kids, our old habits still there from many, many years ago.  We still trash talk our buddies about the same foibles in their games and personalities.  As a friend of mine once said “It’s the most fun you can have with your pants on.”

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