Nearly 100 rough, tough hockey players over the age of 35 will converge on Juneau this weekend looking to crack some legs. Lots and lots ... of crab legs.
The Juneau Adult Hockey Association will host ten teams from around the state for the 7th annual Rainforest Classic Old Timers Hockey Tournament Friday through Sunday at the Treadwell Ice Arena.
The teams will make their annual voyages from Dawson Lake, Watson Lake and Anchorage with a few more friends in tow this year. The Anchorage and Watson Lake groups will both field teams in the B Division this year for the first time.
"This year I think the B Division is really going to be competetive, as well as the A Division," tournament director Chip Verrelli said. "The teams say they like the short trip and the cost of coming down here, especially when the weather is a little milder. I think the real reason might be that king crab."
The crab, and plenty more, come in Saturday night's annual team banquet that features seafood and other contributions as the locals fill the tables potluck-style. The Alaskan Brewing Company will also be making a donation of adult foodstuffs this year.
The Yukon-area teams began traveling to Juneau when Treadwell was opened and the tournament began in 2003, according to Verrelli. They simply followed the Juneau players from the Old Timers tournament that both frequented in Haines Junction in years prior.
"Teams from Petersburg used to make it up and bring some of their own seafood," Verrelli said. "They won't make it this year, but we're pretty much limited to 10 teams. We might be able to get a few more, but we just don't have the ice time."
The Dawson Lake teams plan to fly down from Whitehorse on a chartered flight this year that worked out as a swap of sorts with one of Juneau's youth squads. The local team will fill the plane on the trip back to Whitehorse for a few weekend games and the two clubs will swap out again on the return trip Sunday afternoon.
"Normally Air North doesn't come here unless they're chartered, so it helps us all out since the ferry schedule doesn't work for them," Verrelli said. "The ferry's been an issue for us - it never goes when those teams need it."
Watson Lake topped Anchorage 3-2 for last year's A Division title. The Juneau Aces were knocked out in a tiebreaker prior to the title match, but kept the championship at home in 2007. Watson Lake and the Aces, who carry the same rosters as a year ago, will clash on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Admission to the tournament is free for all spectators.
2009 Rainforest Classic VII
Division Teams Time
B Juneau Gene Pool vs Taku Wynd 3:00pm
A D.C. Gold Dig vs W.L. Silvertips 4:15pm
B Trout Unltd vs D.C. Generals 5:30pm
A Juneau Aces vs Anch. Hershey 6:45pm
B Team Svensson vs D.C. Generals 8:00pm
A Juneau Aces vs D.C. Gold Dig 9:15pm
B Trout Unltd vs Anch. 49'ers 10:30pm
SATURDAY, FEB. 28
Division Teams Time
A W.L. Silvertips vs Anch. Hershey 7:45am
B D.C. Generals vs Anch. 49'ers 9:00am
B Team Svensson vs Juneau Gene 10:15am
A Anch. Hershey vs D.C. Gold Dig 11:30am
B Trout Unltd vs Taku Wynd 12:45pm
A Juneau Aces vs W.L. Silvertips 2:00pm
B Juneau Gene vs Anch. 49'ers 3:15pm
B Team Svensson vs Taku Wynd 4:30pm
Banquet: Tlingit and Haida Hall 7-9:30pm
SUNDAY, March 1
B Division Championship Game 8:00am
A Division Championship Game 9:30am