Playing for the Community: Senior Hockey in O’Leary
Winters in West Prince can be long, grim seasons. Fishermen are left to mend nets, farmers are left to prepare for spring, and for hundreds of folks the world can grind to a cold, dull halt. For many people, the only prescription for winter blues is a nice dose of Hockey.
Many of the fishermen and local gents trade in their rubber boots for a pair of skates, and swap out the ocean for an ice surface. Senior Hockey in O'Leary is the equivelant for most to the days of hitting the Parthenon to watch the Gladiators fight for the lives. Hockey Night with the Maroons is the thing to do around here. What else are you going to do?
It all started back in the 20's with the first formation of an official team. Playing for the Senior Maroons has been an aspiration for adult athletes in the O’Leary area for decades. The team has had their share of exciting years and in turn has attracted players from far-away places to do battle on O’Leary’s ice. These players are also the core of the hockey experience in O’Leary: the generation of players who set the high-water mark for later teams to follow. These players are often directly involved in coaching, administration and other roles that further facilitate hockey programs in the area.
We have gathered some photos of the Senior League and the players who have worn the jersey over the years. Of particular note is when the senior team brought home the Island Championship in 1952, as well as the Howard’s Cove Maroons who won the Island Senior A Championship in 1990/91. One thing for sure is this: Senior Hockey still evokes memories of banner years to local fans and athletes. When you start a conversation with someone and mention local hockey, eyes light up. Stories are immediately shared.
The Senior Maroons have their share of rivals, such as the Tignish Aces, whom Billy MacKendrick referenced in his little yarn. They are an aspiration to the up and coming Junior teams. But mostly, they are the elite hockey for O'Leary. The main event, if you will.