A group of Golden hockey players are getting prepared to play a series of games in Europe between Nov. 1 and 16.
According to the Golden Nationals team captain, Jim Oseychuk, Golden has a long history of playing hockey in Europe.
“In the 1970s there was an active group of Old-Timers who were able to go on several tours of Europe, and numerous tournaments. They owned a small cedar shake operation together so were thus able to finance their hockey tournaments in various places, and they were a very active team,” he said.
In 2006 a team from Inzel, Germany, came through Golden on their own tour and played our local Old-Timers.
This led to the idea for the team to do their own tour.
Then in 2009, after some organizing and fundraising, a team from Golden had a successful tour in which they played eight games, six in the Czech Republic, and two in Germany.
Oseychuk said the group is looking forward to this adventure overseas.
“We decided to do one more trip of a lifetime, raising funds through various means, to help subsidize the trip. Any Old-Timer who wished to join up was welcome, and a nucleus was formed,” he said.
“We begin in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From there we go on to Plzen, another very nice Czech city, made famous for the introduction of Pilsner beer some 5oo years ago. We actually play the Pilsner Urquell Brewery team , as we did last time around. From there we travel with our team bus to Zell am See, Austria, for a game, and then to Inzell, Germany, where we play the Cheimgau Oldies, the original team that came to Golden. Three games in northern Italy rounds things off, and we fly home from Vienna, Austria.”
Players on the team are very excited about heading to Europe and being hockey representatives.
The oldest rookie on the team, at age 64, is Don Steinhauer who can’t wait to get overseas.
“I never thought I would go on something like this. I have never done anything on a scale like this. It is the big time,” he said.
“To represent our town, our province and our country is very special,” said Rob “Dood” Oseychuk.
Rob and Jim are brothers who grew up playing hockey on a small pond in Donald.
“It was a make shift pond in front of our house. We never dreamt it would take us to an international game,” Rob added.
There are two sets of brothers as part of the team. Besides Rob and Jim both Chris and Anthony Gueckler are taking part in the tour.
Bernie Drees is going to be one of two goalies playing for the team this year and is getting ready to face off against the finest players in Europe.
“The butterflies have almost settled down. I am very excited to go and I am feeling a little pressure, but you never know what is going to come up,” he said.
Drees added he has been a goalie for longer than he can remember but never could have hoped for a chance like this.
“I never thought I would get the chance to do this. It is going to be one exciting trip.”