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Third Long Pond Heritage Classic a sunny success


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There’s something about the Birthplace of Hockey Long Pond Heritage Classic that appeals to even the most accomplished of puck handlers.

For the up and coming players, it’s an opportunity to face-off against athletes who have managed to live the dream and make a living playing the sport they love.

For the pros, it’s a chance to go back to the basics and remember how enjoyable a carefree game of pond hockey that won’t make or break anyone’s career can be.

At least, that’s what it was for Gilbert Dionne when he participated in the 2014 Long Pond Heritage Classic on Feb. 8.

Dionne played for the Montreal Canadiens when the Habs won the Stanley Cup in 1993.

In the case of the Long Pond Classic, he was drafted to Home Hardware’s team.

In a short interview before his first shift on the ice, Dionne joked that he knew that was the team for him based on the colour of their sweaters.

“This was such an easy yes once I found out I got the invitation to come out,” said Dionne, in between signing autographs.

Dionne said he was excited to take a timeout from work, and have the opportunity to participate in a unique event that celebrates the history of the game.

“I’m raising five kids back home in Kitchener, Ontario and I trade commodities. I’m in the grain business, believe it or not, purchasing grain throughout Eastern Ontario and just selling it back to the market,” he said.

Premier Stephen McNeil also dropped in on Windsor to speak at the opening ceremony for the tournament. In a brief speech, McNeil hinted that it’s possible the provincial government will get behind the local push to have a new arena complex constructed within the Birthplace of Hockey.

“Hopefully someday we’ll get an opportunity to work together to build you that arena,” McNeil said.

McNeil said he was happy to attend the tournament, but there was a reason he didn’t show up with skates.

“It’s a long way for me to fall,” the Liberal leader joked.

McNeil thanked the volunteers behind the tournament for their efforts.

“For centuries this game has connected our communities from one end of the province  — one end of this country — together.”

Retired right winger Rick Middleton, a well known goal scorer who played for the New York Rangers but is most remembered for his time as a Bruin from 1976 to 1988, and Dennis Vial, a defensemen who donned Rangers, Red Wings and Senators jerseys between 1988 and 2005, laced up their skates for the tournament on Long Pond.

Peter Mahovlich, a four-time Stanley Cup winner and member of the Canadian team that played in the 1972 Summit Series, joined Dionne, Middleton, Vial and Forbes Kennedy, a long retired NHL player from PEI who dressed for the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Toronto Maple Leafs before calling it quits in 1969, for the evening banquet that followed the tournament.

The event is a fundraiser that helps the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society continue to operate the museum that pays homage to the history of Canada’s national pastime on the exact pond where, many believe, hockey was born more than 200 years ago.

“I think everybody wants a thrill to get out and play pond hockey where pond hockey really began,” said David Hunter, president of the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society.

Mayor Paul Beazley, who played in the eight-team tournament, said it was nice to see the sun shining for an event that draws hockey fans from near and far into Windsor.

“Everybody is having a tremendous time.”

 

 

There’s something about the Birthplace of Hockey Long Pond Heritage Classic that appeals to even the most accomplished of puck handlers.

For the up and coming players, it’s an opportunity to face-off against athletes who have managed to live the dream and make a living playing the sport they love.

For the pros, it’s a chance to go back to the basics and remember how enjoyable a carefree game of pond hockey that won’t make or break anyone’s career can be.

At least, that’s what it was for Gilbert Dionne when he participated in the 2014 Long Pond Heritage Classic on Feb. 8.

Dionne played for the Montreal Canadiens when the Habs won the Stanley Cup in 1993.

In the case of the Long Pond Classic, he was drafted to Home Hardware’s team.

In a short interview before his first shift on the ice, Dionne joked that he knew that was the team for him based on the colour of their sweaters.

“This was such an easy yes once I found out I got the invitation to come out,” said Dionne, in between signing autographs.

Dionne said he was excited to take a timeout from work, and have the opportunity to participate in a unique event that celebrates the history of the game.

“I’m raising five kids back home in Kitchener, Ontario and I trade commodities. I’m in the grain business, believe it or not, purchasing grain throughout Eastern Ontario and just selling it back to the market,” he said.

Premier Stephen McNeil also dropped in on Windsor to speak at the opening ceremony for the tournament. In a brief speech, McNeil hinted that it’s possible the provincial government will get behind the local push to have a new arena complex constructed within the Birthplace of Hockey.

“Hopefully someday we’ll get an opportunity to work together to build you that arena,” McNeil said.

McNeil said he was happy to attend the tournament, but there was a reason he didn’t show up with skates.

“It’s a long way for me to fall,” the Liberal leader joked.

McNeil thanked the volunteers behind the tournament for their efforts.

“For centuries this game has connected our communities from one end of the province  — one end of this country — together.”

Retired right winger Rick Middleton, a well known goal scorer who played for the New York Rangers but is most remembered for his time as a Bruin from 1976 to 1988, and Dennis Vial, a defensemen who donned Rangers, Red Wings and Senators jerseys between 1988 and 2005, laced up their skates for the tournament on Long Pond.

Peter Mahovlich, a four-time Stanley Cup winner and member of the Canadian team that played in the 1972 Summit Series, joined Dionne, Middleton, Vial and Forbes Kennedy, a long retired NHL player from PEI who dressed for the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Toronto Maple Leafs before calling it quits in 1969, for the evening banquet that followed the tournament.

The event is a fundraiser that helps the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society continue to operate the museum that pays homage to the history of Canada’s national pastime on the exact pond where, many believe, hockey was born more than 200 years ago.

“I think everybody wants a thrill to get out and play pond hockey where pond hockey really began,” said David Hunter, president of the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society.

Mayor Paul Beazley, who played in the eight-team tournament, said it was nice to see the sun shining for an event that draws hockey fans from near and far into Windsor.

“Everybody is having a tremendous time.”

 

 

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