A puck, a puck, my kingdom for a puck

Haliburton officially christened hockey central

By terrance Gavan

For the next four weeks a veritable meteor storm of black rubber biscuits will be dropping out of the sky and into an arena near you.

Forget Kraft Hockeyville.

Starting this weekend, Haliburton will become one of Canada’s number one hockey destinations.

The rinks in Haliburton, Wilberforce and Minden will be inundated by young men, old guys, teenaged dudes and toddling stickhandlers as Haliburton County attempts to entrench itself at the epicenter of a hockey universe.

Where to start?

Well like Julie Andrews says, why don’t we “start at the very beginning.” Because it’s apparently a very good place to start.

This coming weekend (Jan 28-30) the 13th Annual Homebuilders Tourney will face off at the Dysart Barn and Wilberforce Arena.

Homebuilders is a popular event and it draws from a plethora of local contractors and many teams from out of town.

Aggie Tose is the convener and she’s very busy. Let’s just say that without Aggie there would not be a Homebuilders Charity tournament.

The tourney’s four divisions include Home Builder, Ladies, Over 35, and Open categories.

There will be a cash bar on Friday and Saturday evening upstairs at the Dysart Arena.

A DJ will also be on hand for both those nights.

Action wraps up on Sunday at the Dysart and visitors are welcome. The proceeds go to the Homebuilder charities and it’s a must see event.

And ocf course the Highlands Storm teams are already entering their division playoffs in rep league action. See the team reports in the sports section of the Voice for a listing of all teams participating in the provincial events.

This is an exciting time for the young kids and they all love it when they can play in front of a packed house at the old barn.

So if you haven’t taken time to watch any rep league hockey this season, this is the best time of year to come on out and watch.

You won’t be disappointed and the kids will put on a show.

And we’re far from done here.

And another charity tournament slides into the driver’s seat next weekend (Feb 3-5) with the Third Annual Scotty Morrison Charity Tournament for Community Care.

Community Care’s Hilary Elia says the tourney is the leading fundraiser for the community group that cares for the aged and infirm in and around Haliburton.

It’s a cause close to Scotty’s heart.

Scotty Morrison, who was named Highlander of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce Gala on Saturday night, says that he owes a lot to his adoptive home.

The former NHL Vice President of both Officiating and the Hockey Hall of Fame first started coming to Haliburton with his wife Joan and their growing family back in the sixties.

When he retired both he and Joan knew right away that they would be calling the Highlands home.

Tragically, Joan passed away just prior to the First Annual Scotty Morrison Tourney in 2009. An Alzheimer’s patient, Joan was being cared for at the Extendicare hospice here in Haliburton.

Somehow Scotty made it through that tourney. The care his wife received and the condolences he was given by the community only served to solidify his commitment and work for Community Care.

This year’s tournament will be held at Dysart and Minden Arenas.

Special guests at Scotty’s annual Charity Dinner include Angela James – recent inductee as first female along with Cammie Granato to the NHL Hall of Fame – Doug Pritchard (HOF VP), Ray Scapinello, Doug Wicks (referee), Bryan Lewis (referee) and many more surprise guests.

The dinner hosted by Rhubarb is slated for Friday night (Feb 4) at the SG Nesbitt recreational complex just above the arena in Minden.

“It’s going to be a roast and the guy they’ll be roasting is me,” laughed Morrison last Saturday evening shortly after receiving his Highlander award.

Morrison says he’s looking forward to the charity event and especially happy that the five-time world champions, the Canadian National Amputee team, will be playing a team of Ontario Provincial Police, and NHL alumni.

That event will be played at the Dysart Arena on Saturday evening.

Admission is by donation and it features some surprise skaters and some born again NHL officials, who will almost certainly be found trailing the play while attempting to reclaim their sea legs.

And of course somewhere in that mix, both boys and girls Red Hawks teams will be occupying the ice as kawartha League play dwindles toward the playoffs.

On Feb 15-17 Scotty will welcome 20 teams of very old dudes for the Winterfest 2011 senior games.

How popular is hockey in Ontario.

Well, Winterfest chairman Alan Clark said that the field this year was absolutely inundated with requests.

They held registrations to 20 teams because that was all the three arenas (Dysart, Wilberforce and Minden) could handle over a tightly packed two days of action.

Scotty Morrison is taking a leading role in organizing a hot stove panel and an appearance by the Stanley Cup.

And of course don’t forget to tune that television to the NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 30.

Why?

Well, former Red Hawk and Highland Storm phenom Matt Duchene will be there whipping up vortexes as a representative of the Colorado Avalanche.

Of course the Avs fans think that Duchene will be skating for them.

We know that he’ll be recalling a time long ago on the Dysart Arena when he was churning those five-year-old legs down the ice toward the cafeteria end boards, imagining that he’s playing in the NHL All-Star Game alongside Joe Sakic or Mario Lemieux or perhaps the Rocket Maurice Richard.

We never know do we?

So let’s change up those New Year’s revolutions peeps.

Make a promise to get out and give a little back to charity.

And all those kids.

From 5 to 75.

Hockey keeps us all young.