They shared memories and swapped old hockey war stories.
Dozens of Pictou Old Puckers players, past and present, gathered on Nov. 2 at the Stella Maris church hall in Pictou, to mark the oldtimer hockey team’s 35th anniversary.
Alan “The Shadow” Wark was one of the original team members.
“I got called up from the minors in the fall of 1984,” he joked, as he looked around the cburch hall, which was slowly filling up on this night.
“I tell you, I’m just glad that we’re still able to do this after all these years. We’ve actually lost 13 of the original guys, and to still be able to get together with the guys and girls, and we’ll have a little sing-song afterwards. One of the pre-requisites for getting on this team is ‘can you play a musical instrument and tie your own skates?’. If you could do both, you were a shoe-in.”
They still play twice a week – Wednesday and Sunday night games at the Hector Arena.
“We have enough guys for two squads, so it’s Green Team against White Team,” Wark added.
“Three hours ice time a week, and we get prime time – we always have. The guys get together and maybe they’ll have a pop afterwards.”
Jim Walsh is the team’s oldest member at 83, and the youngest member is Pat Roach, age 69.
The Old Puckers have participated in countless tournaments over the years, but have refused to join an official old-timers league.
When the Old Puckers do their twice-weekly thing, they keep score, but then again, they don’t.
“Nobody gives a damn about the score,” Wark says.
“But we keep score. I mean, nobody ties their skates to go out there and lose. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing pond hockey, peewee hockey or old-timers, you don’t go out there to lose. But without about a minute left in the game, somebody will yell, ‘next goal wins!’, no matter what the score is. So for that last minute, the boys just give ’er.”