The Hay River Rusty Blades Oldtimers League recently hosted its annual tournament.

Eight teams competed in the Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 event – four from the league and four from out of town.

The champions in the ‘A’ division were the Nahanni Inn Flyers from Fort Simpson.

Members of Hay River Green –- the winners of the ‘B’ division of the recent tournament hosted by the Hay River Rusty Blades Oldtimers Hockey League -– were, front, left to right, Jeff Wieterman, JP Brabant, Sheldon Bolt, Cory Strang and Les Ring; and back, left to right, Rob Loutit, Doug Wieterman, JJ Hirst, Frank Hirst, Jeff Boyce, Jim Forsey, Mike Maher, Tyson Russell and Cody Townend.
Photo courtesy of Mike Maher

The Flyers defeated the Hay River Blue team in the final game.

“It was close,” said Jeff Boyce, the president of the oldtimers league. “It was tied 2-2 after two periods, and it ended up 6-2.”

In the ‘B’ Division, the Hay River Green team defeated Fort Smith in a high-scoring final.

“It was like a football game,” said Boyce, a member of Hay River Green. “It was back and forth, and the final score was 10-8.”

All eight teams played each of the other teams in a round robin format before they were divided into the ‘A’ and ‘B’ divisions based on their records.

Oldtimers hockey is for players 40 years of age and over.

The other teams at the tournament came from Yellowknife and High Level, Alta.

“It’s not bad,” said Boyce of the turnout of eight teams. “Ten would be preferable, but we had a couple of teams back out kind of last minute type thing.”

Boyce said that overall it was a good weekend of hockey with a lot of camaraderie among the players and no rough stuff during play.

“We all know each other nowadays,” he noted. “So we’ve all played against each other 50 times.”

Boyce said there was also a good turnout of spectators for the tournament.

“It was quite surprising,” he said. “There were quite a few people out watching, more than I expected.”

The tournament was the first for oldtimers hockey in the region this season.

Boyce noted that Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and High Level did not host oldtimers tournaments this winter.

The only other oldtimers tournament in the region is set for Yellowknife in April.

Hay River usually sends a couple of teams to Yellowknife in the over-45 division, Boyce said. “I would imagine that will happen again.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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