The smell of Rub A5-35 was stronger than ever this past weekend at Oceanside Place with the 24th annual Grumpy Old Men hockey tournament.
With 24 teams in six divisions, there was plenty of action starting last Friday and running through to the finals on Sunday.
Parksville was well represented at the tournament with four teams taking part. The local Bruins and Eagles were both in the 45+ division while the Parksville Black Aces and Bald Eagles took part in the 55+ division.
There were teams taking part from Victoria all the way to Port McNeill and everywhere in between. There was a 55+ division, one 35+ division and four 45+ divisions.
The Kokanee Division saw the Parksville Black Aces winning in a shootout over the Parksville Bald Eagles 3–2. The Victoria Crusaders beat the Campbell River Bees 3–1 in the Bud Division (45+). The Keiths Division (35+) saw the Victoria Ice Dogs beat the Victoria Eagles 4–2. In the Labatt’s Division (45+) the Port McNeill Ice Devils beat the Gold River Grey Hawks 4-1. The Blue Division (45+) saw the Nanaimo Strangers beat the Parksville Eagles 6–0 and the Lucky Division (45+) was won by the Victoria Crusaders over the Parksville Bruins 2–1 in a shootout.
“It was another great event. Being that it was our 24th annual, all the teams are looking forward to next year’s event already,” tournament organizer Jim Ethier said. “We’ve already started planning for next year and are looking to add a few things to improve it, including a women’s division.”
Played on both the Kraatz and Meeker ice surfaces in Oceanside Place, players had nothing but great things to say about the ice and the crews that worked hard all weekend to make sure it was kept in good condition.
“Everyone loves coming here because they love the facilities we get to play on,” Ethier said. “Each player I talked to said the ice was great all weekend and it was true.”
“All the staff they have at Oceanside Place, from the folks working the concession stands to the guys making sure the ice is good, they all did one heck of a job and that’s why this tournament is so sought after year after year.”
Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the Grumpy Old Men tournament and having the charity game Saturday night between the Hosers and Team Switchblade was an extra bonus for those attending.
“It was a great thing for a lot of these guys to see some of those players they remembered from when they were younger,” Ethier said.
“All the money that was raised for the SOS Recreation Assistance Program from that game was great to see. It’s a great cause and for us to be linked to all of that made this tournament extra special for all of us.”