Playmakers Tournament The Vintage Hockey Group was founded by Orville Burchby who passed away on June 22, 2008 at the age of 75 following a lengthy battle with cancer. Following retirement from "ED Tel" Orville's love of hockey led him to organize The Edmonton Vintage Hockey Group for men of 55 and older. In 1989 Orville gathered up a few players and organized an ice time twice a week at the Millwoods arena in Edmonton.According to original player George Leckie at the start there were so few players that they would play for a few minutes and then rest. Initially they were referred to as the White Gang and the Red Gang as pictured in the first 2 photos below.
Bill Parker, Roger L’Hereux, Orville Burchby, Bill Dick, Gordie Rouse, Arnie Enger, George Pilbeam
To get enough players, Orville placed an ad in the Edmonton Journal asking those of fifty five plus in age who wished to play hockey to get in touch with him and Vintage was born, with Orville Burchby as the first President of Vintage Hockey. In those early days there were no ice contracts. Times were reserved and players paid the cashier at the front desk. Daily fee was $2.25 per session.
In the first year there were only twenty players who committed to take to the ice twice a week. Players who played that first year included: Orville Burchby(60), Dick Berrisford(55), John Armitage(60), Bob Dean(60), Arnie Enger(55), Bill Hodgson(58), Marty Larson(58), Joe Laslo(54), George Leckie(58), Roger L’Hereux(68), Art Matter(61), Howard McDonald(64), Harold Palmer(57), Bill Parker(60), George Pilbeam(60), Doug Ringrose(61), Chuck Stevenson(57), Paul Winton(60), Harvey Dobbs(62), Bill Dick(56) and Bob McQuay. Over the years more and more players have joined Vintage until today (in 2016) we have around three hundred skaters and goal tenders registered to play in our Vintage ice slots.
The club moved to the Kinsmen Arena in the mid 1990’s and rented two sheets of ice twice a week, Monday and Wednesday. In 2001 a Friday morning ice time was arranged for the guys over 65 to skate with others in their age level. In 2002 six skates a week, with both sheets of ice rented at the same time slot, began. Players were grouped by four “Drafted” teams.
Today we have rented four sheets of ice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each sheet has games with players grouped by ability level.
Many of the players meet for coffee and often for lunch upstairs in the lounge of the Arena. Often these sessions last into the afternoon with members telling each other of hockey feats of long ago.
The Vintage club has had five Presidents since inception, Founding President Orville Birchby, Ernie Boruk, Ed Zaharichuk, Jim Knull and Bob Tessier. The executive has increased to 24 members and looks after all the daily affairs of the club.
Ed Zaharichuk, Cal Findlay, Jim Terry
Vintage has participated in many Old Timer tournaments over the years:
We have sent teams to the Calgary Crowchild Challenge.
Vintage teams have challenged in the Fall Tournament in Kamloops.
We have sent teams to the Victoria Playmakers Challenge every year since the early nineties. In 2006 we sent five teams to the Playmaker’s tournament: a 55+, a 60+ a 65+, a 70+, and a 75+ team. We annually send four teams: a 55+, a 60,+ a 65+, and a 70+ to the Victoria Tournament.
In the past we sent two or three teams to the Parksville tournament.
We have sent Vintage teams to the Canadian 55+ Senior games in 2004 Whitehorse (no medals) 2006 Portage LaPrairie(Silver) , 2008 two teams to Moncton a 55+ and a 65+ (both won Gold) , in 2010 we sent two teams to Brockville a 55(Silver) and a 65+ (no medal) and in 2012 a 65+ team won bronze in Sydney.
There are still several of the founding players in the company of today’s players. The Founders, as we call them, and, listed previously are honoured with a tournament named after them entitled the Founders Cup held in January of each year. Vintage has bestowed the honor of Lifetime Members on 4 former members that have made invaluable contributions to the organization. They are Orville Burchby, Art Hanson, Ed Zaharichuck and Bill Parker. All but Bill are now deceased.
Vintage is an important part of every members life experience lending time for camaraderie, exercise and most of all time that gets us out of our house for a few hours each week.
After Hockey Party during Victoria Tournament
Global News TV reported on the story of the EdmontonVintage Hockey and Japanese Hockey Connection.
Global News video: https://globalnews.ca/video/1238286/edmonton-vintage-hockey
Download at the end of the page will provide details and photos of this event.
The Team competed in the Molson's Invitational 60+ division. The group won the division with three wins and no losses.
A great time was had by all
Feb 27-March 9, 2015
Randy Tonn message:
I am leading a 30 person Medical/Dental Team to Guatemala Feb 27-March 9, 2015. We will be working in 3 Child Care Plus sponsored schools in Livingston, Los Amates, and Teculutun. The team will set up three 2 day clinics and are anticipating to see over 1000 students and 400 adults. Students are sponsored from Canada for $37 month which provides the children/youth a uniform, 1 meal per day, and an education. The areas we will be going to have not had medical or dental attention in 6 years.
Here are some sample pics from our last team.
Randy Tonn has the blue gloves.
Mixed Friday was a mini-tournament held to extend fellowship between Groups 1, 2 and 3. Hockey was followed by a luncheon in the Kinsmen Arenas Boga Sports Bar.
Note: In some years it was referred to as Mixed Monday.
2015 was the last year for this event.
2015: Game on!
John Aubin, Alvin Bell, Orville Burchby, Gord Buttrey, Ken Coull, Bob Dean, John Dunnigan, Ron Foster, Art Hanson, Dallas Hauge, Dave Kates, Jack Lerbeckmo, Pat Martin, Bill McLeod, Larry Procktor, Doug Ringrose, Wes White and Ed Zaharichuck.
Following the Knighting Ceremony at the 2011 Playmakers Tournament in Victoria, BC Vintage Player Allen Snart returned to his room inspired by the players receiving the honors and their comments regarding the most cherished memories of their hockey careers..Al took out a pencil and in very short order composed this poem which we feels tells a story we all can relate to. Thanks Al, for letting us publish it here.
I Imagine…Oldtimers’ Hockey
I imagine the sound as skates bite the ice;
I imagine past glories that would have been nice;
I imagine the speed causing wind in my hair;
I imagine the roar of a crowd that’s not there;
I imagine the plays built on deftness and skill;
I imagine the game in this way, but will
Come back to reality which, in truth, is not bad;
How can I miss what I never had?
Reality isn’t that bad when I think,
Between hockey and happiness, there might be a link.
I still get to go and play down at the rink,
Where I get to don clothing that really does stink;
And play at the game in real time and space;
Even without the speed, skill and grace.
I am glad to be out there with all of the others;
That’s Oldtrimers’ hockey --- friends, sons and brothers.
Allen Snart 2011
Al Snart is back row centre
In 2016, Al Snart provided an Edmonton Vintage Hockey snap shot:
Back when a Tweet was the sound of a bird,
And words like Selfie and Google weren’t heard;
Before all life’s answers could be found on the Net,
And the human brain was the best you could get;
A brilliant thought came to one Orville B*
“We really need hockey for old-guys like me”.
That thought was the seed from which Vintage was born.
So the boys all showed up on one cold winter morn,
Back in eighty-nine, dressed in red or in white.
That’s when it all started, and it’s turned out all right.
The group size has multiplied ten times or more,
With groupings that have grown from one up to four.
It’s still skates and pads, and sticks and a puck,
Some skill, some finesse, and a bit of good luck.
Just players, no refs, and no crowds to cheer;
Lots of memories and jokes, and the occasional beer.
And forget the disputes that disrupt the sport,
For once we are grateful that memories are short.
Now, this doesn’t happen without care and attention,
The Vintage execs deserve special mention.
And, leading the group is our exalted Prez;
‘Though the boys don’t always do what he says.
And yes, he’s one of those, the most holy of holy;
You know who we’re talkin’ about, it’s Bob**, the “goalie”.
And it’s not just the hockey that Vintage provides;
It’s the parties and golf and ping pong, besides.
It’s also giving back to the City through charities***,
Like the Food Bank and H.O.P.E. and the Festival of Trees.
There’s help for the homeless, and help to find answers,
By supporting foundations for various cancers.
We are ever so grateful for the good work that’s done;
And best part is that we have so much fun.
There is one last thing I would like to say;
Thank you … thank you for letting me play.
*Orville Burchby was the first President of Vintage
** Bob Tessier is the fifth President of Vintage (Others are Ernie Borok, Ed Zaharichuk, and Jim Knull)
*** Edmonton Food Bank; Edmonton Hospital Foundation; Festival Of Trees; Winter Coat & Clothing Program – Neighbour Centre & Boyle Street Co-op; H.O.P.E. (Human Organ Procurement & Exchange); Prostate Cancer & Kidney Foundations; and more
Bobby Hull was invited to join Vintage.