- A group of 22 Saskatoon hockey players has been admitted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which now has over 80 members.
- Three players considered the potential of launching an elderly players’ league in 1993. A total of 144 participants have been divided among 12 teams.
A group of 22 hockey players from Saskatoon has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, with over 80 members.
Ray Sladek, an inductee, remarked Saturday before the annual game, “You don’t have to be excellent; you just have to be old.”
The class of 2022 was introduced at the ceremony, which included 18 players of Saskatoon’s 60-plus hockey league.
As some of the spouses have dubbed it, the old men’s daycare brings these oldtimers together twice a week to continue playing the game they learned as children on frozen sloughs and dugouts.
“It lowers your blood pressure and lowers your heart rate.” You have the physical aspect, and then you have the camaraderie with the guys. And we old men still have some competitiveness,” Sladek added.
In 1993, three players discussed the possibility of forming a league for older players. There are now 144 players divided into 12 teams.
Don Reimer, a fellow entrant, recalls mastering his skill as a boy on a frozen pond in his backyard created by his mother throwing slop water as well as potato peelings near Idylwyld Drive on the outskirts of Saskatoon.
“I then moved on to the sloughs near the airport. “You had to skate through the cattails and weeds, which offered me a good turn to practice,” Reimer explained.
When Reimer was 35 years old, he was asked to join his first oldtimer league. He didn’t know how long he’d be able to play hockey at the time. Reimer, 81, began with a five-year plan and trimmed his hockey career down to a two-year plan.
“I think I’m doing well right now. I have the impression that I am skating quickly. With a smirk, Reimer remarked, “I’d wonder who that slow bugger out there is if I watched myself on film.”
After more than six decades of organized hockey, Sladek believes there is one hockey lesson that has guided him throughout his career.
“It’s a team sport,” she says. You must work well with others. A hockey game is impossible to win on your own. That’s what you have to do, Sladek said: “play as a team.”
While Reimer and Sladek enjoy the game, they despise going to the gym and prefer to spend their time in the locker room.
“One guy always drinks rum and coke, so he told this guy, ‘here, have a drink of my rum and coke.’ So he drank the guy’s rum and coke and told him to “stick your finger in there.” Sladek remarked, “He ripped out the guy’s false teeth.”
These illustrious Canadian 80-plus Hockey Hall of Fame members capped up the day with a well-deserved banquet at Western Development Museum with over 500 people in attendance. Many generations of friends and family are cheering them on.
Source: CTV News