It is a misnomer to call the 11th Annual Rainforest Hockey Tournament an “Old Timer’s” event.
Sure there may be some surly old sourdoughs with an agenda skating full tilt towards their adversaries, but with an age limit of 35 or older, rosters full of 30-somethings from around the state will be colliding starting today at the Treadwell Ice Arena as the tourney’s first puck is dropped.
Ten teams are in the mix for the trophy and the public is invited, for free, to cheer or throw octopus or hats on the ice to their hearts content.
From Yukon, Canada is Dawson City, or as the locals call it, Dawson. Like most of the Yukon, Dawson has a subarctic climate so expect these skaters to be a bit perturbed at being indoors, especially when indoors is not their local Diamond Tooth Gerties.
Anchorage and Palmer have teams attending and they are formed of players all from those respective communities. That alone is enough to get to the rink and boo against the opposition. Palmer is called the “Palmer Senior Center” but do not think for one penalty minute that their sticks will be used as canes.
From north of us are the Haines’ Lynn Canal Whalers and from south are the Petersburg Wild Kings and neither of these clubs has a home rink... but they do have frozen ponds and I believe there was a movie about an Alaskan team that took its meager skaters to victory over a pro team on an iced-over home muskeg hole. Look closely at the players, as you will spot a lad or two from the Capital City.
Juneau features three squads: Juneau Raindawgs, Juneau Aces and Gene Pool. These teams are almost all local boys. Gene Pool has that distinction of being entirely Juneau born and bred, and they do take a beating but they keep coming back.
There is bad blood in this trio of Juneau rosters, just look at how they try and park their gear-laden vehicles at the rink all season.
Tout Unlimited is a mixed Alaska team, with roots in Juneau, but whose members all have a puck in their boat, tackle box or waders and are members of TU.
From the capital, and largest city, of the Yukon, Canada, comes the Whitehorse Knights (insert boo/hiss here). Always a tough opponent, this is an entire roster of “border boarders.”
A new addition to the tournament is the first annual Sister Cities Invitational Hockey Classic. This game will always pit a team of Whitehorse skaters against a Juneau team in the first day of the tournament.
This year’s Sister Cities game is at 6:30 p.m. and it features our Juneau Aces against the Knights. The winner of this game will be presented a trophy, to be awarded by the Mayor at the banquet on Saturday night.
This new Sister Cities game is to create closer ties with Whitehorse, Juneau’s “Sister City.” That all makes sense, but do remember they are on ice, in full pads, chasing a puck with sticks and looking to keep a winning record in the Rainforest Classic as the game counts in the tournament standings and points.
Following are game times:
Friday, March 1 -
2:45 p.m., Dawson Vs. Anchorage
4 p.m., Palmer Senior Center Vs. Lynn Canal Whalers
5:15 p.m., Juneau Raindawgs Vs. Petersburg Wild Kings
6:30 p.m., Juneau Aces Vs. Whitehorse Knights (Sister Cities Classic game)
7:45 p.m., Gene Pool Vs. Lynn Canal Whalers
9 p.m., Trout Unlimited Vs. Petersburg Wild Kings
10:15 p.m., Palmer Senior Center Vs. Juneau Aces
Saturday, March 2 -
8:15 a.m., Gene Pool Vs. Juneau Raindawgs
9:30 a.m., Trout Unlimited Vs. Dawson
10:45 a.m., Anchorage Vs. Juneau Aces
Noon, Whitehorse Knights Vs. Juneau Raindawgs
1:15 p.m., Trout Unlimited Vs. Lynn Canal Whalers
2:30 p.m., Palmer Senior Center Vs. Dawson
3:45 p.m., Gene Pool Vs. Petersburg Wild Kings
5 p.m., Anchorage Vs. Whitehorse Knights
6 p.m., Banquet at Rockwell (upstairs ballroom). Beverages at 6, awards at 7.
Sunday, March 3 -
8:30 a.m., Championship B
10 a.m., Championship A
For more information, contact Chris Mertl at 988-9000, except when Trout Unlimited is playing.
Time to take the teeth out and get to the rink.