Hockey team eyes 2018

PICTOU — A local hockey team is basking in a rewarding experience and looking forward to playing more 55+Games hockey next year.

The 60-Plus team was runner-up at the 2017 Nova Scotia 55+Games last month in Lunenburg County, but two teams in the division are allowed to represent the province at the national event that is being co-hosted by Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.

“We are looking at going as the second team as reps for 60+ from Nova Scotia at the Nationals in New Brunswick next August,” said Clary Melanson, one of the members of the local team.

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The Valley Selects edged Pictou County 4-3 by virtue of a shootout in the division final, but Melanson said the team played well despite the loss in the showdown.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the group of players from Pictou County that went down there and played their hearts out for this team,” he said. “We came home with our heads up and smiles on our faces for the way we played. Our games were all so close with just winning in the last three minutes or going to a shootout.”

Two late goals by Pictou County snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period of their 6-4 victory over Lunenburg in their first game.

Pictou County followed by a shootout win over the Valley Selects. The Selects tied the game with three seconds left in the third period, and the teams played a five-minute overtime period before Pictou County outscored the Selects 2-1 in the shootout.

More than 1,500 delegates are expected for the 2018 Games scheduled for August 21 to 24.

Canada 55+Games president Bob MacLeod, who resides in Kings Head, said he was pleased with the bid the New Brunswick delegation presented in August.

“We could just see the enthusiasm, interest and excitement by this group of people,” he said.“They wanted these games.”

The 55+Games consist of a multi-activity event open to adults aged 55 and older and have a focus on social, physical and psychological involvement.

There are 18 mandatory events including; 8-ball pool, cribbage, golf, pickleball, tennis, bowling, darts, ice curling, Scrabble, track and field, bocce, duplicate bridge, contract bridge, Whist, slo-pitch, ice hockey, swimming and floor shuffleboard.

Four optional events include badminton, table tennis, cycling and horseshoes, plus two bonus events, 5-K and 10-K road races

All participants qualify through their provincial organizations in order to be eligible to participate in the national event.

Pictou County’s 60-Plus hockey team has earned an opportunity to compete in the 2018 Canadian 55-Plus Games to be played in New Brunswick. From row, from left: Sid MacDonald, Clary Melanson, Jim Ryan, Harvey Stiles, Steve Saulnier and John Kerr. Back row: Bayne Barkhouse, Mike Sullivan, Scott MacLean, Preston Lockhart, Al Leck, Leroy MacInnis, Bill Watters, Joe deCoste, Bill Fraser, Colin Dorrington, Weldon Ferguson and Rob MacNaughton. (Submitted photo)

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Steve Goodwin was born in Amherst, N.S. and has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He has been a resident of Pictou County for nearly 40 years.