The Smithers Old Timers Hockey League held its season wrap up and Smithers (Don Lychak) Old Rebels won the season wrap up for the first time ever with four straight wins. We take pride in our league for never keeping track of our stats and results of our play but deep down we all keep a secret record of it. In the midst of the wrap up play Don Lychak brought up the fact that the Rebels had never taken this tournament before. The team responded with “Lets get this done for Don” and then proceeded to go out on the ice and played nearly flawless playoff hockey. The team played a smart team game never really giving the opposition much of an offensive opportunity. When the team snipers got opportunities they took quick advantage of them. The Rebels were lead by goals from Carl Lutz, Laird Ongman and Jerry Watson and backstopped by solid goaltending from Ken Stam.
The Old Timers Hockey League has a unique way of ending the year. In the space of 6 hrs they hold a tournament where each team gets to play 3 games each and it ends with ‘a winner takes all’ final. The games consist of a 14 minute straight time and 1 minute stop time play. If the game is tied they go to another unique format of 5 minute action broken up at 1 minute intervals where each team drops a player. In one game between North Country Rentals and Sunlife this turned into an exciting 1 player verses 1 player ending. This game came to a sudden and exciting end when North Country’s Troy Larden scored a breakaway goal after picking up a loose puck from a Greg Marshall save of an Ed Groot breakaway.
The winner takes all final is always started with an amazing rendition of “Oh Canada” sung by all the players as they line up on their respective blue lines. Joining in from the stands are all the players from the eliminated teams as we all struggle to sing in some form of harmony. It really is an amazing tradition and reminds us all of a youth that we wish for our kids and grand children where we would sing our national anthem at times before our street hockey games. We may as well be playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup at that moment. It’s a special moment that we have created.All of the teams in the League were especially thankful to Dorian Callison as there was hardly a game played where he did not lend his services to the teams that were playing. Another example of how the league promotes balanced play is an annual draft were all teams are re-picked again so that players find themselves with players on their team that they may have played against last year, much as it was with street hockey.
Contributed by Ken Stam