The longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island, Oscar Hickes, returned to Port Alice for an incredible 39th year in a row on the weekend.
“Oscar Hickes” was born Oscar Tootoo in 1952 in Churchill, Manitoba. He grew up playing hockey with his brothers and absolutely loved the sport.
Tootoo and his two best friends, Ray Carter and Bill Poole, moved to Port Alice in 1972. In August of 1978, Tootoo went to Vancouver to see a specialist to correct a knee injury so he could play hockey that winter.
The doctor informed him his playing days were over, and he passed away minutes later in his car from a heart attack. He was only 27-years-old.
The Oscar Hickes hockey tournament officially started that same year, and the tournament continues to show no signs of winding down anytime soon.
With eight different teams participating in two divisions at the all weekend tournament, the spirit of brotherhood was once again alive and well in Port Alice.
In the B-Final, it was the West Coast Rookies and Half Pucked who qualified to play on Sunday, with the Rookies hammering Half Pucked 8-4 over two action-packed 20 minute periods.
In the A-Final, the Anarchists had a date with the Moose Knuckles, which turned out to be a real nail biter.
The Anarchists got on the scoreboard at 4:12 of the first period, and then added three more goals in the second period to take home the win 4-2.
Oscar Hickes organizer Danny Farrell said the weekend was “a lot of fun — we had eight teams, it was a bit of a reunion, and the whole thing went off without a hitch.”
Farrell added the tournament is a big money maker for Port Alice, and the Saturday night dance was a blast as always. “All the fundraisers made a lot of money — Henny Penny Preschool did really good, the Parent’s Advisory Committee, and the NISS Dry Grad sold like four boxes of burgers on the first night.”
While the hotel in Port Alice wasn’t running this year, Farrell noted “a lot of apartments were rented for the weekend, and if you’re a local you took someone in, so a lot of snuggling went down I’m sure.”
As for next year’s big 40th anniversary, Farrell said they have “some tricks up our sleeve to make it special, so stay tuned.”