Nearly fifteen years after being crowned league champions, two hockey teams from Mitchell will be squaring off Saturday night.
An alumni hockey game will take place between the 2004 Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League (HTJHL) champions from Mitchell and the 2005 Carillon Senior Hockey League (CSHL) champions, who were also from Mitchell. The game is being played in memory of the late Dick Penner.
Penner was a pillar in Mitchell and deeply involved in sports in that community. He died in April of 2018.
Korey Peters is co-organizing Saturday's hockey game. He points out this game is not officially affiliated with the Dick Penner Memorial Tournament, which was held for the first time last season. However, Saturday's game will serve as a fundraiser, with proceeds going to the Dick Penner Memorial. Peters says while he is not entirely sure how all the money will be used, he notes there will definitely be a contribution to Mitchell Minor Hockey.
"Which is what we would love to see happen, as we all grew up in it," says Peters.
Peters, who played on the 2004 HTJHL winning team, says tracking down his old teammates was actually quite simple, thanks to social media. He says it took only a day or two before he had connected with each player and notes the only ones who can not make it are those who have moved away.
And, while Peters says a lot of the players who will dress Saturday night, played some very high level hockey earlier in their careers, it probably will not be a high tempo hockey game.
"There will be a lot of dad bods skating around on the ice, as we like to call them," he says. "But it will be so much fun and it's all for a great cause."
He guesses a few players will probably not be lacing up the skates on Saturday, opting rather to stand on the bench. And, while only a couple of players are still playing competitive senior hockey, Peters says many of them are just playing in recreation leagues.
Peters says there are some teammates he has not seen in 15 years and he looks forward to catching up again. He anticipates it could be an emotional night, especially considering Penner's two sons, who played on the CSHL winning team, will both be dressing that night.
"Everybody that played on any of these teams knows the value that (Dick) brought to that community," he says. "We're glad that we have the opportunity to give back."
The game takes place in Mitchell on Saturday, November 16th, beginning at 7:30 pm. Peters says each team will have about 15 players and they are even bringing back a few of their favourite referees from those glory years. Special alumni jerseys will be worn that night.