Category Archives: oldtimers

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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Filed under Food, oldtimers

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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Filed under oldtimers

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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Filed under Comebacks, oldtimers

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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Filed under Great Players, oldtimers