While the Rossland Warriors have skated off into the proverbial sunset, a devoted group of former-Warriors keep the memories alive and continue to build on the hockey team’s legacy.
The junior Warriors regularly held their alumni game on Dec. 26th, but with the exit of the team from the KIJHL in 2000, the annual game lapsed.
“The alumni game kind of fizzled out with the Warriors gone, so there was an opening in the schedule and we started renting the ice, just a small group of us and shooting the puck around until more and more people started getting interested,” said former Warrior Dallas Stanton.
The shinny session has now evolved into the Boxing Day Classic and is celebrating its 10th year.
Last year, close to 80 players laced them up for six teams, all vying for the Classic Cup.
The event also raised $8,000 for charity, splitting the funds between Greater Trail Relay for Life and the local chapter of KidSport.
The St. Louis Blues’ Barrett Jackman played in the event during the NHL lockout, and the Fruitvale native continues to support the cause through monetary donations and sending along Blues paraphernalia for the raffles.
“He was a huge factor in our ability to donate $8,000 last year and he’ll be involved in a similar fashion this year,” explained Stanton.
In addition, local businesses donate items for raffle and combined with 50/50 draws, entry fee, bar sales and donations, the group is able to raise a significant amount for charity.
With the help of volunteers such as the Bantam Rep team that help referee, the event continues to grow but remains as unstructured as ever.
“We have kept the same theme of just winging it, to some extent,” said Stanton. “I set two teams every year to play the 8 a.m. game . . . but other than that it’s pretty much show up, pay your money and yet get a jersey.”
For $20 players play up to three games, enjoying fun but competitive hockey, and bringing back some fond Warrior memories for players and fans.
“We try to encourage not just players but a lot of people, locals to come out and watch. They don’t even mind the brand of hockey . . . A lot of people have watched Warriors games up in that lounge and so its kind of fun to come back,” added Stanton.
The round robin tournament starts early and continues all day, culminating in the championship game later in the afternoon.
For more info or for those wishing to play or volunteer contact email@example.com.