?Last year we had only two out of town teams, so we had to split our squad up, and we got hammered?, reflected Scholarship Fundraising Supervisor Jason Lenart. ? This year we have seven, plus us is eight. Crazy 8s weekend?. The TR Avalanche Trucking Oldtimers hosted the Annual Del Mitchell Memorial tournament on March 4 and 5.

The Peace Valley Prospectors were here last year, and recorded a 7-3 win over the Chetwynd Silvertips in the opening game. ?We always enjoy coming to Tumbler Ridge?, commented former resident and seasoned Prospector defenseman Gerry Harvey. ?You boys always put on a good show?. Game two was a battle of the Titans, as the Dawson Creek Old Posts defeated the Chetwynd Oldtimers 6-2.

The TR Avalanche Trucking Oldtimers opened against the Dawson Creek LP Blazers team. After giving up an early first goal, high shooting forward Jim Ford scored when he came out of the corner and buried the biscuit over the goalie?s shoulder to tie the score at one. Goals by Brian Wylie and Dangerous Dan Golob gave the Av?s a 3-1 lead before LP replied to make it 3-2. But that was it for the Blazers, as Goaltender Dave Taylor shut out the opposition the rest of the way. Jay Lenart (2), Peter Thomas, Jason Collison (2) and Scott Trim scored for the Av?s for their first tournament game win in a long time. ?Look like we didn?t need Nige that game?, supplied blue liner Sean O?Reilly. Former winger Nigel Black was a late scratch from the roster when the Commissioner found he couldn?t get down to an acceptable playing weight.

Game four saw Beaverlodge defeat the Hudson?s Hope Hornets 5-2. Then the Old Posts took down the Silvertips 8-1.

Game six saw the hometown Avalanche facing their old friends the Prospectors. Dan Golob started things off when he took a pass in the slot and drilled a high shot past the goalie?s glove for a 1-0 lead. The Av?s dominated the period, as Jay Lenart and Don Kelly scored for a 3-0 lead. With 1:10 to go, our old nemesis Johnny Roe broke down the wing and slid one along the ice for a 3-1 score. It was right about then that an incident occurred on the bench. ?I want to say sorry to Pete for cutting his arm with my skate when I jumped over the boards?, said an apologetic Dan Golob, cutting the high flying forward for three stitches. ?All you kids be careful when you go over the boards. Accidents happen. I?m sorry?.

Things turned around for the Prospectors in the second, as they scored 3 straight goals to take the lead. ?Our boys just stopped skating?, noted a slightly disappointed father John Lenart. Peter Thomas scored a goalie stick-breaking goal to tie the game a 4 with about 9 minutes to play. But then things really fell apart. ?We just fell apart?, claimed tough guy right-winger Scott Trim.

The Prospectors scored 3 unanswered goals for a 7-4 win.

The Chetwynd OT beat Hudson?s Hope 5-2, and Beaverlodge recorded a 7-1 decision over the LP Blazers.

The home team threw a party for the guys in the lower skaters lounge that night. A beer garden was arranged with the help of Marlene and her husband Bill. Laurie ran the karaoke and the tunes were flowing out like a huge waterfall over really high rocks. Our goalie was last seen belting out a Heavy Metal duet with a referee, and was scheduled to stay at O?Reilly?s. But O?Reilly went home early after consuming his limit. The next morning in the dressing room, the big goalie was questioned, ?Where?d you stay last night??. He replied, ?I don?t know, but they sure were nice people.?

Sunday was playoff day. We tried a new format where the 7th place team would play 8th place; 6th vs. 5th; 3rd against 4th; and the top two would play off in the last game of the day.

The cellar dwelling Hornets and Blazers battled in a 4-1 game that saw the Blazers get their first win.

The TR Avalanche Trucking team faced off against the Silvertips. Jason Collison and Brian Wylie were credited with 4 goals each in a 12-3 rout of the short-benched Chetwynd squad. Peter Thomas, Dean Turner, Jay Lenart, and Jim Ford added the singles. Goalie Dave Taylor got an assist on a long pass. ?Well we won 2 out of 3 games, and we could have won this thing if we had scored on the shootouts?, noted the most improved player Jim Jung. ?Never go straight in at the goalie. Always go to a side and make him move his feet.?

The next game pitted the Chetwynd Oldtimers against the Prospectors. Chetwynd took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room, but just like they did against TR the day before, the comeback Prospectors came out strong in the second and won the game 7-3.

The final game saw the Old Posts and Beaverlodge skate to a nail biting 3-3 draw. The tournament was based on a 10 point scoring system. With one minute to play, with the score tied, the Old Posts pulled their goalie, as they thought they had to get one more point to win the tournament. But it was a miscalculation. ?If they could have scored into that empty net, Beaverlodge would have won the tournament?, determined the analytical Avalanche Captain Larry Urness. ?They were simply foiled by the dastardly strategy of the Wiley Old Posts?.

In the end, the Old Posts and Beaverlodge tied at 21 points, but the Old Posts won due to their +11 in goals for/against versus Beaverlodge?s +9. The Sportsmanship trophy went to the gentleman like Chetwynd Silvertips, who played all three games without one infraction. TR finished third with 20 points.

?We also want to thank Marlene for looking after the hospitality lounge, and all the wives and girlfriends for their contributions. And thanks to those people who took our goalie in last night, whoever you are?, concluded referee Supervisor Jason Collison.

And thanks to one dedicated nurse in Barb Schuerkamp and Dr. Halenar for stitching me up after that guy cut my arm with his skate.