Shades of ‘87
Newfoundland Old-Stars battle Russia in international tournament
Harbour Grace recreational hockey player Fred Power remembers the 1987 Canada Cup final between hockey powerhouses Canada and the Soviet Union.
It featured superstars Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Ray Bourque versus the vaunted Red Army, which starred Sergei Makarov, Valeri Kamensky and Viacheslav Fetisov.
The titantic battle took three games to finish, and Power has fond memories of Gretzky feeding Lemieux the puck for the game winner.
But, never did Power think he would get the chance to relive those memories himself.
He and his Newfoundland Old-Star teammates w e re p l ayi n g Av to- Gen from Khabarovsk, Russia.
“We were really pumped for Russia,” said Power. “They love hockey just like we do.”
The two teams were playing in the opening game of the Lightning 45-and-over division of the Weekend Hockey Tournament being held at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum in Tampa Bay, Florida March 7-9.
The Old-Stars are a group of weekend warriors from Harbour Grace to Victoria who play out of the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
They won the game 10-3, adding the latest notch to Canada’s belt.
“It was a great game,” said Power.
World rec champs
The Old-Stars were gunning for the title of world recreational hockey champions.
Featuring teams from Russia, Illinois and Ontario, the group went 4-0 in the tournament, and were primed to claim the trophy.
Sitting in their way were the Morpeth Oldtimers, of Blenheim, Ont.
Newfoundland bested Morpeth by a score 8-5 to capture first place in the tournament.
“They told us we were the world recreational hockey champions,” said Power. “It’s a good title to have. “The hockey was great.” Tampa was a new experience for the group, although it was not their first taste of rec hock- ey off the island.
Most of this team were a part of a group who travelled to Montreal, Que., for a tournament two years ago.
“It was an awesome trip,” said Power of the Tampa Bay excursion.
After defeating Russia 10-3, the Old-Stars squared off with Beer Bistro HC from Chicago, Illinois. Power and the boys downed Chicago 5-2 to push their record to two wins and no losses.
Next up, was the Granite State Force from Westford, Massachusetts.
Although the state was different, the result was the same for the Old-Stars. Goaltender Robert Randell was stellar in goal leading his team to a 7-2 victory over Granite State.
Skating the forum
One of the highlights of the trip was undoubtedly playing two games that the Tampa Bay Forum, the home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Old-Stars matches with Russia and Chicago were both played at the venerable arena.
It was an added touch that made the trip for Power and his teammates. The group got to skate on professional ice and in a professional arena.
There was the regular music used for Lightning games, and even the same public address announcer.
“It was a real NHL experience,” said Power.
Harbour Grace recreational hockey group the Newfoundland Old-Stars captured the championship of the Weekend Hockey Tournament Lightning 45-and-over division held in Tampa Bay, Florida March 7-9. Members of the team are: front (l-r) — Fred Power, goaltender Robert Randell, Bernie Regular and Ed Goff; back — Ray Barrett, Gary Brushett, Craig Penney, Danny Green, Steven Lundrigan, Billy Pike and Ray Hyde.