By Josh Howald
It’s the old timers weekend where everybody is young.
The 28th annual Erie Belle Kincardine Old Stars celebrations kick off Friday night at the Davidson Centre, and continue all weekend long.
Waiting for a formal invitation?
"The Old Stars want to invite friends, family, alumni and all local residents to come out March 28, 29 and 30 for a weekend of hockey, and to enjoy the Saturday afternoon and evening entertainment," said Bob Surridge, Old Stars defenseman, as well as the current president of the hockey club.
You shouldn't have any issues tracking down a hockey player in town this weekend. There will be 22 old timers teams in town, as well as more teams playing in the ladies division of the tournament, and the rec division. The best part is that there is no admission charge to any of the hockey games, the hall, or to the Saturday night dance.
It all begins Friday, when the youngest stars of the weekend take centre stage. The Kincardine tykes will face off for their final showdown of the season, followed by hot dogs and drinks in the hall. The tyke game officially opens the Old Stars weekend, with the tournament beginning immediately after at 6 p.m., at the Tiverton arena as well as at the Davidson Centre.
Saturday is a day to catch up and visit in the hall, with the annual huge prize table a feature attraction, as well as the live music. Among the prizes up for grabs this year is an Apple iPad Mini donated by Bruce Power and Blue Jays tickets donated by Miller Insurance. Former Old Star Brian Roach has booked the bands for Saturday, and his band the Sofa Kings will headline the Saturday night dance. All are welcome to the dance, though it is age of majority.
"It really is the people of Kincardine who come out and support this tournament that make it successful," said Surridge. "Because of that support, we've been able to donate more than $20,000 back to the Kincardine Hospital over the years."
The Old Stars also sponsor a local minor hockey team, completed and paid for dressing room renovations, add-ons and extras. The club made a $10,000 donation to the revitalization project, and operate the KMHA hockey school each September. Recently, the Old Stars paid the hall rental during the Hockey Day in Kincardine fundraiser for Doug Kennedy.
Established in 1974-75, the Old Stars held the inaugural tournament the following year. Those first Old Stars squads included some familiar names and faces around town, like Jack Pym, Keith Davidson, Clarke Pollock and Frank Pearce.
The tournament grew over the years, at one point hosting 32 old-timers teams with games in Ripley, Tiverton and Kincardine. Now, 38 years after it all started, it has since expanded to allow hockey players of all ages to be involved. The women's division is traditionally small, but strong, and some of the area's best uncarded hockey players are competing in the rec division of the tournament.
The Old Stars wanted to thank all the local businesses for the support and donations to the prize table.