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

Langford bike park rolling along to completion

New park a tribute to Jordie Lunn’s legacy

Rare white orca spotted hunting off shores of Alaska for first time

Tl’uk seems healthy and strong, says researcher

Mental health challenges add to youth stress load

Part 2 in a Black Press series on Youth Homelessness

Mount Newton Centre pivots to keep serving seniors

Peninsula non-profit in need of iPads to stay connected

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read