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Old time Haida hockey hits Rupert ice

Island team returns for the annual Old Timers Tournament
Ben Cochrane and his teammates prepare to defend their zone against Prince Rupert side La Gondola. (Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

The 21st annual Old Timers Hockey Tournament took place in Prince Rupert last weekend, featuring 17 teams across three different divisions.

Haida Gwaii was once again represented at the competition, taking part in the men’s division. The visiting team played a total of three games spanning from Friday to Sunday.

Albert Liddle tended goal for Haida Gwaii during the Old Timers Tournament. (Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Mark Grinder pursues an Entire Auto opponent during Saturday play in the Old Timers Tournament. (Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

This included the opening match of the tournament, where the island side matched up against one of the home sides, La Gondola. Haida Gwaii scored a claim to fame early on, notching the first goal of the tournament when Edi Szaz put home a Don Hancock pass just three minutes into the game. It was a tough go the rest of the way though, as La Gondola scored three in the first period and seven in the second to come away with a 10-1 win.

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Next up for Haida Gwaii was a noon affair on Saturday against another Prince Rupert side, Entire. The visitors were unable to get off to their hot start this time, instead conceding the first five goals to Entire. Hancock got Haida Gwaii on the board midway through the first period, but they again found themselves in tough as Entire hit 12 goals by the final buzzer. Haida Gwaii did double their goals total from the first game however when Mike Allen scored the last goal of the game off a pass from Mark Grinder.

(Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Tim Fenmel of Haida Gwaii sporting one of the team's alternate jerseys. (Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

The on-ice product was not the only entertainment on the agenda over the weekend. Following the Friday games teams headed upstairs to the Civic Centre’s Eagle Room to take part in a seafood buffet and beer garden gathering, while Saturday night saw the building rocking with a performance by Prince Rupert’s own Triple Bypass.

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The team’s final game of the tournament took place on Sunday morning against the Eggplants, a team consisting mainly of firefighters from Prince Rupert and Kitimat. This proved to be the lone time Haida Gwaii would not get on the board, as they ended up falling 11-0. While the results did not necessarily go their way, the fact that a region without a single hockey arena can continue to field a team each year is certainly seen as a success in itself.

Albert Liddle tended goal for Haida Gwaii during the Old Timers Tournament. (Alex Kurial / Haida Gwaii Observer)

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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