Oscar Hickes Hockey Tournament went off without a hitch say organizers.
The event, now in its 36th year, is known as both the best place and party to be at on the North Island this time of year.
Considered by some to be the event of the season, the tournament has certainly been a huge draw throughout its history, bringing in teams and visitors from all across Vancouver Island.
However the event has been a point of not only pride for the community as well as an opportunity for Port Alice to raise money for various good causes.
Those causes include the Lions Club and the North Island Secondary School graduation class. The concession stand was run by NISS and the Saturday night dance was run by the Lions Club.
Bill Cliff, a Port Alice resident has been attending Oscar Hickes for 30 years, and has experienced the event both as a player, and in later years as a member of the Lions Club organizing the dance and raising money.
“It’s just a way for everybody to pull together, everybody seems to have a good time. The Lions Club does a dance every Saturday night, so that’s kind of nice. Minor hockey does a bunch of stuff as well. The whole town kind of pulls together for this event, because there is a lot of revenue that is brought in.
Fund-raising aside, the level of competition is extremely high.
The tournament is made up of two divisions, comprising 12 teams.
Despite the high-intensity play, there is still room left for some humour with team names like Getting Greasy and The Anarchists,
“I’m a player and lover of the weekend and a lover of Oscar Hickes. Like every Oscar Hickes, this weekend was full of fun and the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was really excited to be here,” said Tyler Wells.
The community is as much a draw as the hockey itself, said Wells.
“It’s the love of the community that keeps people coming back. Every year people fly in here from all over. Two years ago I flew in from Australia to be here.”
The finals took place on March 29 and saw the West Coast Rookies take on Buck n’ Does, with the West Coast Rookies taking the win, leaving the Buck n’ Does to place third in the ‘C’ division.
However the West Coast Rookies would lose to the Chiefs in the final match with the Chiefs winning 7-6, the West Coast Rookies placed in a respectable second.
The ‘A’ division finals were just as close, with the Horses beating the Anarchists 7-4. The Anarchist placed third in the ‘A’ division.
The Warriors met the Horses in the ‘A’ division finals after beating out The Islanders in their semi final match 8-5.
The final ‘A’ Division match for top spot was a much closer game ending in a narrow 3-2 victory for the Horses.
For a year that has had many ups and downs in Port Alice, the Oscar Hickes event allowed for a great weekend for the community to enjoy and there is no doubt the tournament is a beloved tradition that will not be going anywhere anytime soon.