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

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

Turned over truck impedes traffic in Langford

Truck at the side of Millstream Road near Western Speedway

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read