For any hockey-loving Canadian of the ’70s, ’80s or early ’90s, Friday’s Montreal Canadiens Alumni game was an opportunity to see their hockey legends in the flesh, close and personal — though not as personal as that of the men and sole woman who skated against them.
The evening pitted the Canadiens against a team of Stettler All-Stars, players who did admirably well against their more experienced competitors despite losing 6-5, according to Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Schutt.
“The Stettler team started out pretty good, and then I think they run out of gas and our superior conditioning took over,” Schutt said after the game. During his time with the Canadiens, between 1972-1985, Schutt won five Stanley Cups (1973, 1976-1979).
The Alumni play about 40 games throughout the season, though the roster changes. Some players play all, some play a few as they can get away from their other responsibilities.
“People always tease me,” Lise Collins, from Beaumont, said. “They ask me why I let my husband have two thirds of the basement for his hockey shrine and it’s me.”
The floor looks like a skating rink and the wall is adorned with signed pictures, jerseys, and other Canadiens memorabilia. The VIP tickets were a surprise gift from her husband, who had also purchased tickets for the game the next day in Wetaskiwin.
The stands were full for the most part on both sides of the stands, with the far side being used as a beer garden. The 50/50 draw saw the lucky winner bring home $1,100 and business was brisk at the Canadiens table and the Penalty Box.
Money raised from the evening will go to the Stettler Minor Hockey League and the Kinettes, who together organized the evening.