Grumpy Old Men take on the Switchblades

The Grumpy Old Men will be having their 12th annual year-end tournament March 28-30 with a new product being shown to the hockey world for the first time, with the majority of proceeds going to the Society of Organized Services (SOS).

The Switchblade will make its debut on Saturday night. It’s a new skate blade design that allows players to change their blade on the fly, without having to miss a shift.

The design gives the skater the option to turn their skate blade upside down, which reveals a skate blade on the opposite side. This eliminates having to take the skate off and sending it to the training room for repairs while the player waits.

It can save time during a game and allow for a quick and simple switch on the bench. The blade is interchangeable and double-sided, which allows for a quick transfer.

Team Switchblade says it will be showcasing retired professional hockey players, including former Canucks draft pick and country music star Chad Brownlee, former Canuck draft pick Jeff Bandura and former Buffalo Sabre draft pick Richard Hajdu.

The Switchblade team says it will also have Nate Leslie, who played professional hockey in Europe, Kerry Gladson, who played for the Vancouver Junior Canucks and Kevin Hoffman, who played in the East Coast League for the Victoria Salmon Kings.

Taking on Team Switchblade is the Grumpy Old Men team of fire department members from around the area, as picked by Parksville Fire Chief Doug Banks.

The Grumpy Old Men have been playing ice hockey in the Nanaimo Oldtimers Hockey League for 25 years. Three years ago, the club split into two teams: age 45 plus (Grumpy Rangers), and 55 plus (Grumpy Old Men), which play in different divisions of the NOHL.

For the past 12 years, the Grumpy’s have organized an end of season tournament in Parksville, using the twin ice surfaces.

In an effort to promote youth sport in the community, the Grumpy Old Men have organized a fundraising activity in support of the SOS Recreation Assistance Program. Their goal is to provide children an opportunity to learn to skate or play hockey.

Everyone is invited to the big game on Saturday night, with entry by donation. The SOS will also hold  a 50/50 draw.

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