In sport as in life all good things must come to an end, which is unfortunate, because for some, hockey is much more important than that.
Like the neon light that glowed for eight decades welcoming weary players and thirsty patrons to the Rossland Avenue landmark, for over 30 years the Rex Hotel Red Army hockey team was a beacon of excellence in the Trail Commercial Hockey League.
After the Rex Hotel closed its doors in September, the hockey team officially folded last week. Symbolized by the retiring of Rex’s classic Blackhawk-coloured jerseys, the torch has been passed on to its new sponsor Kris Koshey of Allstar Maintenance Ltd. and its Red Wing colours.
“It’s the end of an era, for sure,” said Rex player Jim Maniago. “I’m sure we were the longest running team in the league, I mean the Rex has been in the league as long as anyone can remember.”
Maniago is a veteran of 17 years skating with the Rex Hotel; he remembers going to watch their games when he was a young hockey player, and returned to play with the team after graduating university.
“The first eight years I played we won six championships. Rex was always a strong team in the league so for sure there’s lots of championships and after-winning parties at the Rex – a lot of good memories.”
In the past, all the TCHL teams would head to the Rex for a cold one after the game, says Maniago, but, with recent changes to drinking and driving laws, the sport and its players have evolved and changed.
“It’s too bad because Moe (Regnier) has alway been a great sponsor. The team has been a fixture in that league forever, I am sure there is more Rex Hotel’s names on the cup than any other.”