Vernon Tigers, from left, Graydon Brown, Marty Stein, Terry Mosdell and Dale Rintoul display their championship rings at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

B.C. lacrosse legends celebrate Canadian titles, life after crash

Vernon Senior B lacrosse team survived a 1976 plane crash after victory in Winnipeg

Vernon, B.C. — Like at most reunions, the Vernon Tigers swapped stories, caught up with how the family was and snapped photos with joy.

The big difference with this weekend gathering was that many players from the three-time national Senior B lacrosse team were feeling extremely grateful to be alive.

The Tigers marked the 40th anniversary of their third-straight President’s Cup, but the bigger story was how the 1976 group survived a plane crash into a farmer’s field near Pincher Creek, Alta. Sept. 8 on the way home from Winnipeg.

RELATED: Legendary Vernon lacrosse team reunion will recount titles, terror

Barry Lapointe, the Kelowna Flightcraft pilot who pulled off an emergency crash-landing of a DC-3, saving all 26 passengers on the plane, received the most hugs and handshakes at the reunion, which attracted 62 players, wives and team staff.

“There were some rumours somebody was smoking in the washroom, but Barry said in his speech that a heater had overloaded and there was lots of smoke,” said Marty Stein, who organized the reunion and had taken an earlier flight home. “(Jeff Shirley) Spook told Barry there was smoke coming out of the washroom and he got all the players to the back of the plane. Alice Rintoul (Tiger Dale Rintoul’s wife) maybe said it best when she said ‘If it weren’t for this man (Lapointe), there would be no kids or grandkids for a lot of us.”

Stein said Lapointe also cleared up just exactly where the plane, jazzed up with lounges, couches and poker tables, originated.

“It was an old plane and Barry said it was the only type that could have landed like that. Some guys thought it was Frank Sinatra’s plane or Bing Crosby’s, but it actually was Conrad Hilton’s.”

Stein said captain Jamie McKenzie, a licensed pilot who joined team GM Wolfgang Gachter in calming the player and taking charge of the evacuation, also spoke Saturday night at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

“Jamie talked about how inspiring our team was and he talked about things a lot of us had forgotten. He spoke for about 20 minutes and was just awesome.”

A total of 21 Tigers purchased commemorative rings marking all three Canadian victories, the other two coming in Edmonton and Vernon.

“Our president Art Horsley did an incredible job for us,” said Stein. “We, as athletes, we never knew what was going in with fundraising and behind-the-scenes stuff. “Danny Holte and Rick (Horsley) bought Art a ring and he was so happy. That was a touching moment.”

Stein said coverage of the plane crash in last Friday’s Morning Star was a history lesson for the younger Vernon generation.

“I talked to a lot of oldtimers and they, of course, remembered the story, but some of the guys’ kids hadn’t heard much about it. It was a big story at the time and is a big part of Vernon’s sports history.”

There were five groups golfing Saturday and Stein said there were no aces or stellar scores, “just a lot of laughs and chuckles.”

Added Stein: “It was 40 years since our ‘78 team but it was like someone pressed pause and we just kept talking.”

Stein plans to lobby the City of Vernon to raise a banner honouring the Tigers at Kal Tire Place.

RELATED: Civic Arena to be demolished


@VernonNews
sports@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Gary Gilchrist of the Vernon Tigers, middle, draws some laughs from teammates Marty Stein, left, and Doug Hengel as they get ready to play a round of golf Saturday during their reunion. (Toby Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Marty Stein of the Vernon Tigers swings away as the three-time senior lacrosse team teed off in a 40-year reunion gathering Saturday. (Tobias Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Renovated Lake Cowichan town hall will include emergency operations centre

Upgrade project expected to be complete within months

Extension given for Cowichan region homeless tenting sites

Meeting with BC Housing to determine the next step

Business notes: Realtors raise $10,000 for Nourish Cowichan

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

North Cowichan mayor answers questions about new RCMP detachment

The current building went up in 1980, when there were 30 people working there.

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read