Alumni edge Sockeyes, 7-6
Brooke Odenvald is in the securities business these days, but his heart is never far from the hockey rink.
A prolific scorer in his junior days, he occasionally allows himself to drift back to the early 1980s when he was a prolific scorer for the Richmond Sockeyes, then a member of the BC Hockey League. The memories came flooding back Saturday as Odenvald, 48, pulled on the old red jersey featuring the salmon crest and skated on to the familiar Minoru Arenas ice for the Sockeye Alumni.
“You find yourself kind of reflecting, and maybe wishing you’d appreciated it more at the time,” he said. “But I definitely look back on (the playing career) fondly. We had a pretty proud tradition and as a kid I always looked up to the Sockeyes, so to actually put that sweater on was special. It was the team I always wanted to play for and to see it still around and flourishing is great.”
Odenvald, who picked up an assist in the Alumni’s 7-6 win over the current Sockeyes (Pacific International Junior Hockey League leaders with a 31-6-0 record) in the 10th annual Sockeyes Alumni Game in support of its scholarship foundation, played for his hometown team from 1982 to 1984 and remembers having a lot fun—on and off the ice.
“We had a close group of guys and the camaraderie was special,” he said.
Now a City of Richmond employee, Brad Swanson captained the Sockeyes in the 1997-98 season when Maurice Lambert, now part owner of the team, was its head coach. Both were back in familiar roles Saturday—Swanson on the ice and Lambert behind the bench—for the Alumni, with Swanson picking up a goal and an assist.
“The Alumni game is always a good night, but it’s always a little better winning than losing,” laughed Swanson, who played four seasons with his hometown team. “Being a year older and step slower, we knew we were not going to outskate them and if we traded chances we were going to lose, so we tried to let the puck do the work and be in good position.”
Still, the current Sockeyes managed to double the Alumni’s shot total (60 to 30) and may have won if not for the outstanding goaltending of Judd Lambert (head coach of the present team) and Sean Donnelly.
Doug Paterson, also back of the Alumni bench Saturday, acknowledged part of him wished he could still play but conceded father time prevented it.
“What I enjoy best is seeing all the guys come back and want to be part of the Alumni,” said Paterson, the Sockeyes’ original captain in 1972 who spearheads the Sockeyes Alumni. “This year there were five or six guys I’d never met before.”