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Ageless local players heading into 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame

'I think it is wonderful, I have a passion for the game and the friendships you make'
83-year-old Bruce Culhane will be inducted into the Over 80 Hockey Hall of Fame this Saturday. Photo submitted.

Bruce Culhane still loves the game of hockey. 

At the age of 83, he still plays the game he loves with a group of North Bay senior hockey players called the "Wooden Sticks."

"I just really love the game," said Culhane. 

"We go to places like Bracebridge for tournaments."  

Culhane, who grew up in Kirkland Lake and joined the army at 16, was nominated by teammate John Cobb to be inducted into the  80+ Hockey Hall of Fame.

The organization, which got its start in 2011, celebrates hockey players and builders over the age of 80, who are still playing or giving back to the game of hockey. 

This year 29 hockey enthusiasts aged 80+ from across Canada are being inducted at the event in Ottawa this weekend. The celebration will involve an 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame Game at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa followed by the induction dinner.  

Herb Brennen, 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame president, says since 2011, they have gotten 276 players inducted into their 80+ Hall. 

"The purpose is not to just recognize them as individuals, but to encourage others to remain in the game and to stay as healthy as they can to keep mobile," said Brennen. 

Culhane will be joined as well by Ray Lamothe, another local hockey player who is 80+. 

Culhane recalls growing up in Kirkland Lake and hearing about the names like Ralph Backstrom and Dick Duff. As a youngster, Culhane remembers delivering papers to Duff's home.  

Culhane will continue to play and believes age is just a number.  

"I don't see any difference," he answers when asked about playing at his age. 

"I think it is wonderful, I have a passion for the game and the friendships you make."

However, Culhane does see a very big difference in the way the game of hockey has evolved since the 1950s.

"It was pretty dirty," recalls Culhane. 

"The coaches were not trained at all, just like a businessman would say 'I'll take the team for a year.'"

Culhane is excited about the opportunity and admits he does not feel like he's a Hall of Famer, he just wants to keep playing hockey as long as he can. 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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