Wayne Florko

Wayne Florko

Senior Games Hockey hits Cominco ice today

West Kootenay rivals join forces to face off against rest of B.C.

The 2011 Seniors Games got underway yesterday, at least for some, other athletes are still on ice until today.

While curling got off to an early start yesterday, ice-hockey for the 55+ and 70+ won’t lace them up until today at the Cominco Arena: the first game going at 8 a.m. this morning.

The Kootenay Glacier Kings 55 + team take on the Schooners at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m when they face the Salmon Arm 55ers.

While Zone 6 was able to ice three teams this year, the West Kootenay 60+ and 65+ squads are competing at the Nelson and District Sports Complex.

The West Kootenay sent only one team to the Courtenay/Comox Seniors Games in 2010. A determined group of young seniors formed a 55+ team and with barely two lines, still managed to win a bronze medal.

“Last year when we were down a bit in terms of numbers, we played five games in three days with 11 guys, and we lost two games by a goal, and we could have easily won those games,” said team forward Wayne Florko from Trail.

With three teams each boasting a full squad of nine forwards, five defensemen and two goalies this year, Zone 6 is ready to compete.

“We’re looking at least to be in the mix, to be competitive but other teams could have strengthened too, we don’t know what they’ve got,” said Florko.

The Glacier Kings teams are a mix of guys from Castlegar, Rossland, Fruitvale, Nelson and Trail, many are ex-Smoke Eaters and ex-Nelson Maple Leafs that grew up as heated rivals but now team up to take on the rest of B.C.

“They’re really a great bunch of guys, lots of fun to be around,” said the Glenmerry teacher as a teammate yells out, “Except for you Flork.”

The Glacier Kings are more prepared this year, enjoying a couple practices this time around and is confident it will translate into better results on home ice.

In Trail, the Glacier Kings 55+ team are scheduled to play their final game of the round robin at noon on Friday. The medal rounds begin for both divisions late Friday and the team hopes to be in the gold medal game at 11 a.m. Saturday.