Blois Beer got his start in hockey on the ice pond behind his home on the Bannockburn at age 5 and, this year, his Alberta team called the Wolf Pack won gold at the Canada Seniors Games.
Blois’ work career has taken him from PEI to New Brunswick, Manitoba and for the last many years, Alberta, but his love for playing hockey has remained strong and it paid off.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever won a Canadian championship, a very good feeling, even at my age.”
The lives of professional hockey players can be brief and they can be considered old in their early 30s, but hockey dreams at the Seniors Games live on.
This is Blois’ third time at the Canada Seniors Games. Their team blazed through matches with Manitoba, Ontario and two BC teams and went stick to stick for the gold medal against Ontario, five games undefeated.
Blois said that it was a great experience to be able to compete and meet participants from across Canada including those from PEI that he played with many years ago. Old hockey pals from PEI were Frank Morrison, Errol Taylor, Howard Ellis, Ken Kelly and Gerry MacDonald. PEI was short a couple of players, so Blois said his Alberta hockey buddies ended up playing with PEI.
After childhood days on the pond behind his home, Blois played nearly every Saturday afternoon in winter on the dam in Kingston after morning games at North River Rink with the Kingston School team when they were ages 9-10. Each of the schools had teams but Clyde River didn’t, so Coach George Dixon invited Blois to play on the Kingston team.
Blois went on to play with the North River Pee Wee team, North River Bantam teams, juvenile-midget level with Sherwood Mustangs, and then high school teams. At the junior level, he played with Sherwood Mustangs and then Summerside Crystals with coach Forbie Kennedy. At the senior level, he played with the Charlottetown Senior League and then Kingston Crystals in the South Shore Hockey League out of Crapaud. When his work took him to New Brunswick and then to the west, he continued to play in Moncton, Winnipeg, Brandon and now Edmonton.
After winning Gold this year, Blois had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and clean up arthritis damage. He said if rehab and physiotherapy go well, he will be ready to compete in the 55 plus games in Lethbridge in February 2015. He has been to a couple of public skates already and his knee feels fine. He just has to build up muscle.
In his early 60s, Blois will continue in the sport he loves for as long as he is able. He is not the only Islander of his kind in Alberta. John Warren, whose father Keir Warren owned and operated North River Rink, plays in the same 50 plus hockey league he does and he says it is great to talk to him a few times over the winter when they play against each other.