TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO Getting Greasy defeated the Warriors 5-4 in overtime in the A-Final of the 40th anniversary Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament in Port Alice.

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

There will be no 41st Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament in Port Alice this year.

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island, broke the sad news on social media on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

RELATED: 40th anniversary Oscar Hickes

Murray stated the organizers asked the Village of Port Alice if the tournament could be held at the shuttered Doug Bondue Arena like it always has been (other than the one year it was held in Port Hardy in the 90s), but were told “no” by council, who, according to Murray, cited concerns over bringing in ammonia, loading and then evacuating the system after the ice is removed, the cost of hydro, and the financial burden on the taxpayers of the village.

Port Alice Mayor Kevin Cameron confirmed Murray’s statement, noting it was “very accurate with what today’s situation is without the financial backing of Neucel (Port Alice’s dormant pulp mill). Basically, we’ve had to streamline operations.”

Since the pulp mill shut down in 2015, the village has had to make numerous cuts to their operating budget, which included closing the arena for the 2018-2019 season (the rink did open for the 40th annual Oscar Hickes weekend in 2019, which cost $12,000).

Neucel still owes the village approximately two years worth of taxes (totalling around two million dollars), and Cameron stated there has been “nothing to this point” regarding any kind of payment from Neucel. “When the mill was running it brought in 28 million to the coffers for the island in general, with the majority of that being spent in Tri-Port,” Cameron added, noting that if things do change financially for the better in Port Alice, the annual Oscar Hickes weekend will definitely return once again.

‘Oscar Hickes’ was born Oscar Tootoo in 1952 in Churchill, Manitoba. He grew up playing hockey with his brothers and absolutely loved the sport.

Tootoo and his two best friends, Ray Carter and Bill Poole, moved to Port Alice in 1972. In August of 1978, Tootoo went to Vancouver to see a specialist to correct a knee injury so he could play hockey that winter.

The doctor informed him his playing days were over, and he passed away minutes later in his car from a heart attack. He was only 27-years-old.

The Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament officially started that same year in Port Alice.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.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

Just Posted

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

Hilton family’s gift if fully matched will raise $100,000

CVRD testing Shawnigan water after complaints of metallic taste, odour

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past”

Chris Wilkinson column: It’s not too early to reflect

It’s time for the next great migration! A migration back out of the house. To ‘somewhat normal’.

Cowichan residents invited to join Walk for Alzheimer’s online

Taking place on Sunday, May 31, the online event will start at 9 a.m.

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman airlifted with serious injuries, baby OK after crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened on Jingle Pot Road in East Wellington on Saturday afternoon

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Most Read