Hockey friendships extend far beyond the rink

Even living in rural or semi-rural central Alberta there are many ways to get to know your neighbours...

The Leduc Old Blades Hockey League is one big happy family with some distant cousins.

Even living in rural or semi-rural central Alberta there are many ways to get to know your neighbours, and in the counties of Leduc and Wetaskiwin men’s hockey has been a popular option for more than 40 years.

The Leduc Old Blades Hockey League boasts players from Millet to Edmonton; having started 43 years ago in the 1972/73 season.

Before the official creation of the Old Blades league there was one travelling team, says defensive player Gene Sturk.

However, the growing number of men from the area wanting to be involved forced the creation of something a little more structured.

The Old Blades started with four teams but has since then doubled to eight.

“I don’t think there was an age limit at that time,” said forward Bill Bolton.

When the league began, organizers introduced an age cap of 35 years old and up. However, to promote the league and encourage growth some players who were under-aged where allowed in at certain times. Now, with so much support and interest in place, the age limit stands.

A unique feature of the league is it accepts individual players, not entire; there is a draft that follows.

In the past the league has fielded calls from Europe asking about the Old Blades draft process.

The league drafts on abilities and has operated that way since its inception. “So nothing has changed in 40 years,” Sturk.

Games continue over the summer months in a pick-up fashion, allowing those interested to come out and meet other players, get an introduction to the league and evaluations preparing for the fall draft.

Aside from actual hockey one of the main components of the Leduc Old Blades Hockey League is the sense of community it looks to foster.

Sturk says he landed a job via his Old Blades connections and Bolton says his wife had a similar experience.

“I think it’s the friendships you make and the camaraderie of the room,” said Sturk.

“Ninety per cent of the people I know are from Old Blades,” he added.

Bolton moved to Alberta in 2010 and through the Old Blades discovered friends in the community and surrounding area. “Other than work 80 per cent of the people I know are from hockey.”

“(We’re) one big happy family with some distant cousins,” said Sturk.

 

Just Posted

Cow feeding economics for the 2019-20 winter season

Keep in mind prrice and availability of feed

Boat and trailer purchase necessary, hears county council

Several departments needed a better boat says CAO

Hot Habanero jelly good for a get-together

Homemade applesauce recipe in this week’s kitchen

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Branco, Blatz-Morgan win City of Wetaskiwin by-election race Sept. 11

Branco records 761 votes, Blatz-Morgan 688: unofficial results

Fashion Fridays: 10 effortlessly stylish items for fall

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Red Deer Rebels drop preseason tilt to Tigers 5-3

Rebels fail to score after three first period goals

Canada Post has unfair advantage in distributing flyers: news group

Crown corporation argues newspapers, private operators deliver majority of flyers in Canada

Western Canadian Baseball team, stadium coming to Sylvan Lake

The Town announced they are finalizing an agreement to have a WCBL team in the future sports park

Sylvan Lake’s rainbow crosswalk defaced with homophobic message

The crosswalk was repainted Thursday morning to remove traces of the spray-painted words

Mounties lay secrets-law charges against one of their own

Cameron Ortis has been charged under the Security of Information Act

Canadian bobsledder Kaillie Humphries files lawsuit in bid to race for U.S.

Two-time world champion wants to expedite release from national team after filing harassment claims

Absent Trudeau is main target in leaders’ first election debate

Vying for third place, both NDP and Green leaders paint Liberals and Tories as establishment parties

Moose breaks into Fort St. John school district office

Conservation officers found the animal and determined it was fine, ‘all things considered’

Most Read