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

Making hay when facing variable conditions around Wetaskiwin

Lots of rain can have an effect on quality of hay bales even near Wetaskiwin

High speed thrills for media at racetrack

NASCAR Pinty’s Series Luxxur 300 media day at EIR July 16

Mexican recipes for Dora’s Kitchen this week

Tasty enchilada recipe has two types of chilies

Field scouting in July

Field scouting can lead to more successful crop production

Alder Flats 4-H Multi Club Report

4-H kids visited aerial park in Edmonton

VIDEO: Calgary, Flames agree to terms on new NHL arena

The proposed 19,000-seat facility would replace the Saddledome at an estimated cost of $550 million

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

The province’s average over the past 30 years has been 12 tornadoes per year

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read