55+Games hockey teams take gold, bronze


PICTOU – Members of the Pictou County Oldtimers are looking forward to playing in the 2020 Canadian 55+Games.

Pictou County won the gold medal in the 65-and-over division after winning two of three games against a team from Halifax during the Nova Scotia Games that took place from August 1 to 3 in Antigonish.

The win qualifies the Oldtimers for the national event scheduled for August 25 to 29 in Kamloops, B.C.

“We’ll take a couple of weeks off and then get planning for the event,” said Clary Melanson, one of the team’s forwards. “We have a lot of interest in the 55+Games in Pictou County, especially hockey. We have an opportunity to go to Kamloops. I’m pretty sure we’re on track to go. We have a good, tight bunch of guys.”

Pictou County and Halifax were the only 65-and-over hockey teams at the Games. A Team from Antigonish pulled out as its roster kept shrinking below the minimum required for a roster.

“It was disappointing, the number of teams,” he said. “We got on the phone and we agreed to play.”

Halifax won the first game 2-1, but goaltender John Kerr recorded two shutouts as Pictou County followed with 6-0 and 8-0 victories.

Melanson, Scott MacLean and Robbie MacNaughton each scored twice in the clincher, while Bram Avery and Steve Saulnier got the other goals.

Meanwhile, Michel Caron scored three goals as Pictou County’s King Freightlines defeated Halifax 6-4 to capture the bronze medal.

Caron led Pictou County with six goals.

Bob MacLeod, a member of the Nova Scotia 55-Plus Games Society, said the event was moved from its usual late summer date on the calendar to utilize St. Francis Xavier University for venues and accommodations.

“They were a big success,” he said. “We had well over 700 people from around the province participating. It was the first time we were at a university and playing this time of year. The community of Antigonish was terrific and the Games went over well.”

The events being offered this year included women’s and men’s hockey, track and field, mountain biking, pickleball, golf, bowling, 8-ball pool, darts, tennis, cribbage, 4’s, crokinole, scrabble, washer toss, contract and duplicate bridge, skip bo, swimming, curling, soccer , slo-pitch, 5-K and 10-K  runs and three “try it” sports: disc golf, geocaching and rowing.

Pickleball alone attracted more than 100 people from around the province, MacLeod said.

Pictou County had participants in pickleball, hockey and track and field among the events, he said.

Curling was the only sport not offered last weekend but will be contested in the fall once ice is installed at Highland Curling Club in nearby St. Andrew’s. The scheduled dates are October 17 to 19.

The 2015 Games were in Pictou County and attracted more than 800 seniors from around Nova Scotia, including about 170 from Pictou County.

The 2021 provincial Games will be in Yarmouth, which previously hosted the Games in 2009.

Pictou County’s 65-and-over hockey team captured the gold medal at the 2019 Nova Scotia 55+Games in Antigonish. Front row, from left: Jim Ryan, Bram Avery, Steve Saulnier, John Kerr, Clary Melanson, Leroy MacInnis and Roger MacKay. Back row: George Baird, Weldon Ferguson, Scott MacLean, Mike Sullivan, Robbie MacMaughton, Bill Watters, Colin Dorrington, Joe deCoste, Donnie Weir and Alan Leck. (Submitted photo)