Local hockey teams have been busy preparing for the 2017 55-Plus Games in Lunenburg County.
The Games open today and officially start on Thursday. They end on Saturday.
Teams have been assembled for the 55-Plus, 60-Plus and 65-Plus age groups and will start playing games on Thursday.
Clary Melanson is a player-coach for the 60-Plus team that hosted the 65-Plus team in a scrimmage last week and the 55-Plus roster on Monday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
Roger MacKay is player-coach for the 55-Plus team whose roster has been reduced due partly to injury. The most crucial one involved goaltender Gerard MacIsaac whose injury does not allow him to play.
“We’re short-staffed but I think we’ll be okay,” MacKay said. “The guys have been working out most of the summer.”
Antigonish resident Bud MacInnis has been inserted to play goal for the 55-Plus team that has 11 other players. Games rules allow a minimum of 11 players and a limit of 18 players.
The other non-Pictou County resident is Frank Dorrington, who is formally from Westville.
Other players include Kenny Lockhart, Harry Knoester, Jim Roper, Roy McIntyre, Kevin McKenzie, Dave Sinnis, Jack Davies, Dan Thompson and Colin Williams.
Adding MacInnis in goal was made possible by the regional representation at the games.
The province has been divided into six regions that include Antigonish, Pictou and Guysborough counties that occupy Highland Region. The others are Cape Breton, Fundy, Central, South Shore and Valley.
Melanson is also confident his team will be competitive due to the talent and experience they have had and the amount of hockey they keep playing to stay game sharp.
Bob LeDrew is looking after the 60-Plus team that has been assembled.
The 60-Plus team defeated the 65-Plus team 9-4 last week.
“We scored and they didn’t but it was a good test for us,” Melanson said. “Our lineup is healthy so we should be good to go.”
Besides Melanson, the 60-Plus roster includes Bayne Barkhouse, Sid MacDonald, Harvey Stiles, Colin Dorrington, John Kerr, Bill Watters, Steve Saulnier, Al Leck, Preston Lockhart, Graeme Rodden, Joe DeCoste, Mike Sullivan, Weldon Ferguson, Leroy MacInnis, Bill Fraser, Jim Ryan, Rob MacNaughton and Scott MacLean.
Clary Malenson skates between two defenders during a recent hockey scrimmage before the upcoming 55-Plus Games in Lunenburg County. (Goodwin photo)