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The Kootenay Glacier Kings senior men’s hockey team brought home gold from the 2014 Canada 55+ Games, hosted Aug. 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.
“It was a big commitment from all of the players,” said Cranbrook’s Rod Guimont, who played for the Glacier Kings. “We were thoroughly rewarded not only by the outcome but by the wonderful experience and the great memories. To win a Canadian championship at any level is an amazing accomplishment, especially in hockey.”
Comprised of players from both the East and West Kootenays, the Glacier Kings qualified for the Canada 55+ Games after taking home the title from the 2013 B.C. Summer Games in Kamloops.
Guimont was a part of that provincial team and invited three other members of the 1982 Cranbrook Royals Allan Cup-winning squad to join him for the national championships.
Terry Kirkham, Derek Spring, Ken Stroud and Guimont all played together with the 1982 Royals. Joining the quartet were a number of other East Kootenays players. Jim Bermel, Ken Manson, Eldon Wales and David White bolstered the squad and Martin Ross provided top-notch netminding, making for a well-balanced team that proved unbeatable.
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 Lethbridge 3-1. On the second day of the tournament, the Glacier Kings topped Calgary 6-4.
The Glacier Kings held four practices prior to traveling to Alberta for the games.
“[A] big thank you to organizer Mike Ramsey, along with our West Kootenay teammates Pat Severyn, Doug Thomson, Norman Deverney, Ron Cox, Mike Ramsey, Mike Grace and Dave Delong,” Guimont said, “as well as [to] all the sponsors who helped make this happen.”
While Guimont’s 55+ team took home gold, the Kootenay Glacier Kings also sent a 60+ team to the games.
Led by three players from the East Kootenays — Adrian Blais, Brian Dickie and John Mignault — the team fell just short of a medal, losing in the bronze medal game to finish fourth.