The Kootenay Glacier Kings senior men’s hockey team brought home gold from the 2014 Canada 55+ Games, hosted August 27 to 30 in Strathcona County near Edmonton, Alta.
The Glacier Kings claimed the crown with a 3-2 overtime victory, defeating Southern Ontario’s The Point.
Both teams entered the championship game undefeated and with tournament supremacy on the line, the game went back and forth through regulation. With overtime wearing thin, Glacier King Pat Severyn tallied the winning marker with just over a minute remaining in the first extra frame.
“I couldn’t believe the puck was in the net,” said Severyn about the championship winning goal.
The Nelson resident doesn’t like to talk about individual achievements, preferring to credit the team for the win.
“My fellow line mate [Doug Thomson] made a good play on the goal and I just did a wrap around and it went between the goalie’s legs.”
When he saw the puck in the net, Severyn said he was “thrilled to bits.”
“Right away I felt, ‘wow, we did it’ we came there to win gold, we had a great team and we did it.”
Severyn, a left winger, was one of four Nelson players on the squad. He was joined by fellow Nelsonites Doug Thomson (left wing) Norman Deverney (defence) and Mike Grace (centre) as well as players from Castlegar, Rossland and Cranbrook.
Severyn said the event was competitive, but not chippy and he was surprised by the quickness of the play.
“The basic reason why I believe we won is we just rolled our lines every 45 seconds while other teams played that old-timer-style of hockey where they went on two minute shifts. We just wore them out.”
Beating Ontario in the final was also special for many of the players.
“It was kind of comical that the guys from Ontario that we played in the final game didn’t know what Kootenay was. They said ‘Where’s Kootenay?’ and I said ‘when we’re done you’ll figure out where it is.”’
At the end of the tournament, as the two teams shook hands, Severyn good-naturedly told one of his competitors to look up Kootenay on a map.
“I will, he said.”
Apart from defeating The Point in the championship game, the Glacier Kings also knocked off the North West Territories by a score of 14-1 on opening day. Squeezing in two games on the first day of the tournament, the Kootenay team then went on to edge out Lethbridge 3-1.
On the second day of the tournament, the Glacier Kings topped Calgary 6-4.
The Glacier Kings qualified for the Canada 55+ Games after taking home the title from the 2013 B.C. Summer Games in Kamloops.
Severyn said most of his teammates have played at the Junior or Senior A in the past
“It’s a lot of experience, and they’re still in pretty good shape,” he said.
Despite being in their 50s, wanting to win is still in their blood.
“Some of these guys have won Allan Cups, they’ve won Junior A Memorial Cups, they’ve won a lot of things… They said there’s not too many championships that would beat the ones in the past, but they were really amazed by how they felt after winning these championships.”
The squad can hold on to its title for the next two years. The next games are scheduled until 2016.