Couple enjoys Liftlock Atom tourney for its honesty
A purity nine and 10 year olds import to hockey brings Don and Bev MacDonald back to the Peterborough Liftlock Atom Hockey Tournament year after year.
For nearly 20 years the northend couple has staked out top row seats in section eight of the Memorial Centre to watch the championship games each Sunday.
The couple, who will celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary in June, never had children and rarely know anyone on the ice. They just enjoy the hockey.
“I watch a lot of hockey and you see a lot of honesty here,” said Don MacDonald. “The kids are just putting out for the love of the game.”
He coached a St. Peter’s church league team in the tournament in the 1980s. Not long after he finished coaching they began attending games. With no admission fee they wonder why more community members don’t attend.
“It’s lots of fun,” said Bev. “I like to see the girls being able to participate, too.”
The 61st edition of the PLAHT featured 114 teams playing 242 games at 12 area arenas over four days. There were 10 divisions ranging from house league to
The MacDonalds enjoy the variety.
“It’s interesting to see the different levels of kids who are the same age and even sizes,” Don said. “Some of these kids are almost double the size of others. It’s amazing.”
The couple bet on each game and whoever loses the most games takes the other out for dinner, said Bev.
For the first time in many years there wasn’t a team from Peterborough city or county to win a division championship.
The Otonabee Wolves came the closest losing 2-1 to the Kanata Space Rangers in the Mike Fisher Division house league final. Josh Crowe gave Otonabee a first period lead. Daniel Rubashkin and Joel Switzer replied for Kanata.
The Douro Dukes reached the Dave Roche Division house league final but were dismantled 10-0 by Almonte-Packenham Thunder. Alex Bernier and Thomas Gagne led the Thunder with two goals each.
The closest thing to a local winner was the Orono Leafs who beat the Kawartha Coyotes, both C level teams, 4-1 in the Cory Stillman Division final.
“It’s really cool because we’re the first Orono team to ever win this,” said Leafs’ captain Maverick Birch. “It’s really exciting for us.”
Orono posted a 4-1 tournament record and also squeezed in a league playoff win Friday night, said coach Paul Birch.
“The kids are really on a high now,” said Paul Birch. “They’re really enjoying their time here. This weekend meant a lot to them. This tournament is very highly regarded for the competition they bring in so for our kids this is huge.”
Coyotes’ coach Jeff McLean said reaching the final was the highlight of his team’s season.
“To get to the final of this tournament is an accomplishment and I know everyone in the stands, from grandparents down, are really proud of the kids.”
They were 4-1 on the weekend and only allowed three goals against prior to the final.
“It was a great tournament for the kids,” said MacLean. “The Petes players come in and say a few words of encouragement to them. The whole event, the executive and the board, do a fantastic job. When you get to atom this is the tournament you want to be in.”
Gabe Phillipp, Owen Heeney, Tyler Broadhagen and Birch scored for Orono. Torrin Bullock replied for the Coyotes.
Other division champions included Perth Lanark Blue Wings (Doug Gibson), Moorettown Jr. Flags (Greg Theberge), Whitby Wildcats (Mark Freer), North Durham Warriors (Bob Errey), South Muskoka Bears (Herb Raglan), Whitby Wildcats (Steve Larmer) and Clarington Toros (Bob Gainey).
Petes' goalie Kiran Bishop blocks a shot on West Carleton Crusaders' JacobReinke during the 61st annual Liftlock Atom tourney.