Stettler seniors make grade for Alberta 55-plus Games

The Stettler area is expected to be well-represented at the Alberta 55-plus Winter Games, set for Feb. 13-16 in Calgary.

The Stettler area is expected to be well-represented at the Alberta 55-plus Winter Games, set for Feb. 13-16 in Calgary.

Local participants include Fred Milner of Stettler in five-pin bowling, Bridie Forde of Stettler in cross-country skiing, and nine hockey players — Dennis Becklund, Fred Bozek, Ken Graham and Wayne Perkins of Stettler, Jim Sandul of Alix, Eldon McCrindle and Ron Carothers of Byemoor and Bryan (B.J.) Smith and Jim Wasdal of Endiang.

Zone 4 publicity director Rose Snopek said more than 1,100 competitors are expected in Calgary from across the province.

She said the Zone 4 entry features 145 competitors in 14 activities.

Milner has brought home multiple silver and bronze medals in bowling in past games, but he’s hoping for the elusive gold medal this time around.

He’s entered in the 75-plus age category.

“It’s always a good outing,” Milner said.

McCrindle plays on a 70-plus team called the Mourning Blues.

He said they qualified to advance to the provincial competition by defeating a Red Deer team in zone playoffs at Penhold last month.

McCrindle said he has competed “three or four times” in 55-plus Winter Games in hockey and also in softball in the Summer Games.

He said he’s looking forward to another experience.

Bozek, 70, said he has been going to the 55-plus winter and summer games since he was 55, competing in hockey and softball.

He was pleased to qualify to represent Zone 4 with the 70-plus hockey team he helped organize.

“We challenged the Red Deer team and won — that made me so happy,” he said.

Bozek expects a high level of competition at the Winter Games.

“There are eight zones in Alberta and the city zones are tough,” he said. “They have lots of ex-pros in all age groups. Calgary alone has 15 70-plus teams.”

Bozek said the oldest two members of the team will be 82 and 80 this year.

He said Carothers is the team captain and coach.

“He is good at motivating.”

Bozek is optimistic about the team’s chances in Calgary.

“We have a helluva team — it is gonna be tough, but we will try to win our share,” he said.

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