Sockeyes’ oldtimers pumped for exhibition game
They may be older and a tad slower, but the competitive spirit still burns.
And with age comes wisdom, something Doug Paterson hopes to draw on when he suits up for the Richmond Sockeyes Alumni in their game against the Vancouver Canucks Oldtimers Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Tickets ($15 each) for the 4:30 p.m. faceoff, as part of Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day, are available at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Partial proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Richmond KidSport.
“I always wanted to complete my hockey journey playing against the Canuck Oldtimers,” said Paterson, a co-owner of the Pacific Junior Hockey League Sockeyes and the inaugural captain of the team in 1972.
Paterson, now a successful local businessman, will anchor the Sockeye blueline.
“I think it’ll be exciting and apropos for our 40th anniversary,” he said. “It also allows us a broader reach for our 11th annual alumni game (against the current junior Sockeyes) Feb. 16 at Minoru Arenas, from which proceeds will go to the Sockeyes Scholarship Fund.
Paterson knows the Sockeyes will be huge underdogs against the Canucks, who will feature the likes of Cliff Ronning, Garry Valk and Dave Babych, but that isn’t deterring his enthusiasm.
“(The Canucks) might not have the legs of years past, but I still expect they’ll really move the puck effectively,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to skate with these guys so we have to let the puck do the work. And playing on a bigger ice surface (the Olympic-sized ice is 15 feet wider than the standard 200 by 85 foot NHL rink), I think, is going to be an adjustment for both teams.”
Brad Swanson, who will play up front for the Sockeye Alumni, dreams of scoring a goal in the game. But above all, he just wants to make his son proud.
“ You don’t get an opportunity to play guys like (the Canucks) very often and everybody is pretty excited,” he said. “I think we all want to do well. There’ll be some butterflies, and even two seconds on Hockey Night In Canada would be pretty cool.”