Golden Rockets play in alumni game

Past and present Rockets will be coming together to play in the Golden Rockets annual alumni game on Sunday Sept. 30.

Past and present Rockets will be coming together to play in the Golden Rockets annual alumni game on Sunday Sept. 30.

For the past 20 years, Golden has hosted hockey players from around the province and country (and some out of country players as well). The annual alumni game is an opportunity to bring them back to Golden for a weekend.

“I spent a lot of time over the years getting to know some of these players, and it’s very cool for us to have an opportunity for them to come back into town,” said Colleen Palumbo, who began volunteering with the Rockets society in 2001.

“It gives them the opportunity to come back and play, and say thanks to the Town of Golden for everything that they were given while they were here, so it’s a pretty cool thing.”

Palumbo is expecting 22 players to return to town, making up the old Rockets team who will face off against the young guns, the current Rockets team.

“Players from all over the place are coming… some of the old favourites from the 2000 era,” she said.

Golden has been hosting these alumni games for about six years, and it has given players from different eras the opportunity to get to know each other.

If you have been a Rockets fan over the years, you might recognize some of the names.

“Grady Samson drives up every year from Vancouver for this,” said Palumbo.

“While he was living in his billet home out in Horse Creek, the house caught on fire. He and the other billet that were in the house got out of the basement, went around and up over the carport and saved the woman and her daughters who were in the house. They were given a commendation by the government after that.

“He’s never forgotten, and he comes back every year to Golden for this event.”

The teams will be coached by game broadcasters Gino Palumbo (coaching the old Rockets) and Tom Stanton (coaching the young guns).

“In the last few years the young guns have definitely come out the winners. But this year I’m hoping for a little better result because I put this team together… And Ty’s boys will have played on Friday and Saturday night, so maybe they’ll be a little tired out,” said Palumbo.

The game takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday Oct. 30. Regular admission, and the beer gardens and concession will be open.

“We hope that lots of the fans of past years come out to support the Rockets organization, and have an opportunity to say thanks to the players,” said Palumbo.

“These players come back here on their own time to play in this game. They stay in our hotels and eat meals here, and continue to contribute, so I think it’s a pretty cool thing.”