The Kelowna Raiders 45+ Old-Timers Hockey team won their second consecutive Pepsi Capital News Centre league championship this week, beating the regular season champion Red Wings 4-2 with a late empty net goal.
One would think the victory would illicit a big celebration from these wily old veterans, but from all accounts the post-game festivities weren’t much different than any other regular season game. A couple of cold drinks, some ribbing about the plays that went wrong and a few expressions of disbelief for the flashes of success when everything came together as planned.
The enjoyment of just being at the rink with the guys and strapping on the old pads are the real reason this group continues to compete. With an average age of 50, a number of the Raiders have been teammates off and on for the last 10 to 25 years. They come from a wide array of youth hockey levels and have moved through the adult recreation ranks, from the commercial leagues, to the +35 age group and last season into the +45 senior league. Most are past or present minor hockey coaches and volunteers, who have taken time off from playing over the years for the kids but can’t stay away for long. As long as the body continues to hold up there is no place they would rather be.
Team Members: Denis Apchin, Kevin Fisk, Len Sandberg, George Curran, Gary Weninger, Mike Hlusko, Brian Beach, Randy Ledyard, Kim Burston, Brad Tait, Ray Lapointe, Don Naka, Brad Boback, Shawn Clerke, Don Sinclair, Brad Knorr, Greg Hewko, Mike McNulty.