The Islanders oldtimers hockey team is heading to Windsor, Ont. for the 2016 CARHA Hockey World Cup.
They will not lack for company as over 125 adult recreational hockey teams from more than 14 countries will be participating in the April 3-10 event.
There will be 57 teams from Canada, 17 from Finland and 15 from the USA along with entries from Kazakhstan, Wales and Slovenia, among others.
The event has been labelled the “Olympics” of rec hockey and is the largest international adult rec hockey tournament in the world. The CARHA World Cup and the organization have attracted players such as Bryan Trottier, Cam Neely, Phil Esposito and more.
“The Islanders Hockey Club – dubbed ‘A Drinking Team with a Hockey Problem’ – is unique, or so we would like to think,” said Stuart Lavoie. “The players range in age from 40 to 56 and all have different professional careers.
“When it’s time to don the hockey equipment we are there to play ‘for the love of the game’ and the cold refreshments and stories afterward,” Lavoie added.
The team was formed 15 years ago and has gone through some player changes, but the core is still well intact. “We are like family during the hockey season and in the off season; we are like every other hockey player and do our off-season training on the golf course,” Lavoie said.
Most of the team participated in the 2012 CARHA Hockey World Cup in Sault Ste. Marie which Lavoie said was an absolutely amazing experience for all.
“We played teams from Switzerland, Latvia, Fitchburg USA and Sioux Lookout. We are looking forward to participating in the 2016 CARHA World Cup in Windsor and connecting with the other players from all over the world and be reacquainted with old friends,” Lavoie said.
The Islanders play 40 games per season on Vancouver Island, which includes two tournaments. One of the tournaments took place in January 2016, the 39th Annual Pacific Cup Hockey Tournament in Victoria, consisting of 139 teams from the United States and Canada (also hosted by CARHA Hockey).
The Islanders came out on top, winning their division in a tough battle by beating their arch-rivals the Seattle Wolves 5-3 in a great final game after the Islanders fought their way back from being down 3-2.
With 49 seconds left in the game Ron Barnes scored the tying goal, set up by the great skating and hustle from Lorne Sandberg on a pass from Derek Colongioli. Shane Dennis tallied the go-ahead goal with assists going to Lavoie and Wade Kropelin. Dave Bennett (from John Boccabella and Troy Godard) sealed the deal by putting the puck into the empty at the same time the buzzer went to end the game, giving the Islanders the division title back from Seattle who won it last year.
The Islanders finished the tourney with a 4-0 record with 24 goals for and five against thanks to the great goalkeeping of Dan Smith. They defeated the Black Sheep from Surrey 4-1, Pitt Meadow Gamblers 7-1 and the Oceanside Fireballs 8-0 in round robin play.
“It was a whole team effort put into every game to win the Strathcona Division title this year,” said Lavoie.
Looking ahead to Windsor, the Islanders have booked flights and arrangements are being finalized. “If your business or company is interested in helping offset the costs of the trip or helping with any type of sponsorship, contact email@example.com,” Lavoie said.
• The CARHA Hockey World Cup Hockey Tournament brings together teams and spectators from many parts of the globe to share their great attachment to the sport of hockey.
• Representing 5,000 participants from 14 countries, the CARHA Hockey World Cup (CHWC) is the world’s largest international adult recreational hockey tournament. Organized every four years (since 1996) in a selected Canadian City, the week-long event provides adult recreational hockey players from around the world the opportunity to strive for excellence through team work, fair play, and camaraderie in Canada’s national sport.
• In 1996 in Toronto, the CARHA Hockey World Cup was reborn and built on an Olympic-themed approach. During this rejuvenation, CARHA’s goal and intention was to provide recreational players over the age of 19 from around the world the opportunity to play in a hockey tournament with international flair.
• The CARHA Hockey World Cup has been held in Toronto (1996), Vancouver (2000), Ottawa (2004), Québec City (2008) and most recently Sault Ste. Marie (2012).