DEVIN OWPALUKNEWS Contributor
They may be long in the tooth, but they’ve still got the moves.
Parksville teams took home the championship in three of the five divisions at the 26th annual Grumpy Old Men hockey tournament, which kicked off Friday, April Fools Day.
These guys didn’t come to fool, they came to play. Over the course of three days, 24 teams played 36 round robin games, plus five championship finals. Teams came from up and down the Island, across the strait and from as far away as Edmonton.
“It’s been a great success,” said tournament director Charlie Schaal. “(Although) we’ve had a few over-enthusiastic players.”
The teams were organized into five divisions. Each division is named after a former Grumpy Old Men player who has since passed on: the Bob Gold division (ages 55-plus), the George Redl division (50-plus), the Fred McEachern and Dan Tingley divisions (45-plus) and the Zee Kowal division (35-plus).
It seemed the players thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They showed great skill and hustle on the ice, as well as displaying good sportsmanship.
Said long-time veteran of the tournament Mike Hanna from Campbell River: “It’s fantastic, well run. The referees were fantastic.”
The Parksville Black Aces won the Bob Gold 55-plus division final 2-1 against the Duncan Hustlers. The first goal was scored by Dan Zauran and the second by Rick Deleau, who said the Aces won through “teamwork.” Aces goalie James Ethier only let in one goal in four games.
The Parksville Bruins won the George Redl 50-plus division final 8-3 against Campbell River 50 B’s. Said Gord Dodd: “Fun tournament, good camaraderie.”
Goalie Perry Elderbroom added: “(We played a) super defensive game, super tight. We played a pressure game. It’s a great tournament. I like the (age) levels. All the games were even.”
The Port McNeil Ice Devils won the Fred McEachern 45-plus division final 5-1 against the Gold River Greyhawks. The Victoria Capital Iron Miners took the Dan Tingley 45-plus division final 4-3 against the Nanaimo Pylons.
Another Parksville team nabbed the Zee Kowel 35-plus division final in a tense shootout. In perhaps the closest match of all, the Victoria Police Capitals tied the Oceanside Stars 2-2 in the last three minutes while Oceanside was serving two penalties.
Oceanside beat Victoria 2-1 in the shootout, with stars Glen Fyfe and team captain Joe Snyder scoring.
“It was closely matched, both teams did their best,” said Snyder. “It’s a fun tournament with lots of teams and lots of fun.”
All of the three Parksville winning teams went undefeated in the tournament.
Said Spruce Grove (Alta.) Old Pines player Neil Holyoak: “It’s a great and well- run (tournament), the weather and the nice arenas. Everybody we’ve met is great.”
Organizers said the community benefits greatly from the tournament with visiting teams staying at local hotels and enjoying some of the region’s fine restaurants.
In addition, the tournament ran a charity fundraiser meat draw at the Rod and Gun restaurant to raise money to get more youth involved in skating and hockey.