For the past 34 years, Pierre Lauzon has been organizing the Industrial Hockey Tournament in Hawkesbury where teams made up of players from different professional backgrounds battle it out on the ice. There are two portions of the tournament, one is the open class tournament to be held on February 23,24 and 25 and the other is the industrial and worker tournament to be held on March 2,3 and 4. Both events will be held at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.
“I started this 34 years ago as part of the Hawkesbury Carnival where I organized a tournament for six businesses. It was such a success that after the carnival I decided to continue organizing the hockey tournament on my own. When there were a lot of industries in the area, we could have up to 52 clubs playing in the tournament. There were rougher years where we had to scrounge to find players, but this year we have 44 clubs playing so it’s not so bad. We are still actively looking for players who wish to register a team,” said Pierre Lauzon.
The open class tournament has three divisions: the 18-35 year olds, 35-49 year olds and the 50 plus. As for the industrial and worker tournament, these clubs are made up of working professionals from various businesses. The organization has a harder time to recruit players this year. Potential players are stating that they didn’t have the time to get some practice on the ice since the ice rink at the arena was closed for a few months, but Pierre Lauzon remains confident that more teams will be participating this year.
“I thought of maybe quitting on the 25th edition of the tournament. With all the factory closures back then, we had a few tough years. The year after the 25th tournament, people were telling me they missed it. Hawkesbury is and always was a big hockey town and my love of the sport is what kept me going. I’m well into my 60s now and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon,” said Lauzon.
Winning teams will be receiving gifts from the organization, but glory has always been the biggest prize of the tournament. The tournament gives funding to schools to purchase equipment and pay traveling fees for sports teams and is also an opportunity for high schoolers to scratch off a few mandatory volunteering hours. The tournament also tries to support children with mental and physical challenges by giving money to local organizations.
Hockey enthusiasts who want to create a team and play in the tournament can call Luc Turpin at 613-632-9632 or André Pilon at 819-430-2048. The deadline for registering a team is on February 8.
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