If age and treachery is a match for youth and exuberance, the Quickcard Cancer Crushers have a fighting chance when the action begins at Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer Saturday. We’re counting on it. Then again, we might just end up beaten, sore and old, which we are.
Lyle Best, captain of our intrepid entry in the all-day tournament to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, put the finishing touches on our Old Man Power theme Thursday afternoon when he took former Calgary Flame Jim Peplinski with the second overall pick in the celebrity draft – the order was decided on donations raised, and we finished second with $21,200.
We took Peplinski, 51, ahead of relative youngsters like Georges Laraque, who went third, Chris Joseph and Sean Brown, which is fitting considering that Pepper isn’t close to being the oldest player with our collection of crusty geezers. Grant Fuhr, by the way, went first overall.
There is zero chance, absolutely none, there’s a team older than the Cancer Crushers entered in this event – my guess is collectively we have more knee surgeries than teeth — and we’re playing, like, five games on Saturday. Keep the Rub A-535 and the paddles handy, OK, Bub?
MOVE ASIDE, KID
Best, a big-hearted businessman and member of the old Edmonton Copper Jackets in the days of the EIG, among many other things, is our captain and goaltender. He’s 59. Former Belvedere Golf and Country Club head pro and noted Oiler backer Garry Meyer is 56.
Craig Topolnisky, who played 10 games with the WHA Oilers, is 55. Kerry Goulet, who played a lot of pro in Europe, is 54. I’m also 54 (my knees are 64 and never got near the pro game in any country).
Pepper checks in at 51. Ping (10 Thumbs) Kam, our ringer, is 50-something. We saved three slots for fuzzy-cheeked kids – Dana Shook is 40 or so, Shawn Stals is pushing 40 and the baby of the outfit is Lyle’s son Aaron, who is 29.
I’m not sure what the record for hooking, holding and obstruction penalties is in an event like this, but we might take a run at it, given our only chance is to slow our games down to a dead-stall with the days of run-and-gun long behind us, especially in a three-on-three format. You’ve got to be kidding.
GRUMPY OLD MEN
As for our selection of Peplinski ahead of Laraque, I love it. If there was a Flame who gave the Oilers more hell than Peplinski during the heydays of the Battle of Alberta, when it really was a battle, I can’t think of who it is. I’ll take that kind of grit and gamesmanship any day.
My guess, after a few days of our team members huffing and puffing through practice in Best’s driveway this week, is we’re going to surprise some of the relative pups we come up against on Saturday – at least until we fall down and can’t get up or nap time comes.
If you’ve got time Saturday, make your way out to the parking lot around the convention centre near the Agri-Com, take in some games and cheer on the old guys (we’ll be the ones doubled over and clutching our chests). Or, just come out and heckle Peplinski.
No matter who you cheer for, come out if you can and support the cause in this battle against a disease that has claimed far too many family, friends and loved ones in our lifetime, as our collection of geezers knows too well.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.