Pirate old-timers return for fundraiser

Excitement is in the air in Falher for the Ultimate Challenge hockey game this Saturday, March 29 at Falher Memorial Arena when the midget boys’ team faces the Falher Pirate old-timers to officially kick off fund-raising to replace the ice portion of the arena.
“People are getting very excited, from all the people I’ve talked with around town,” said Cindy Levesque, who chairs both the fund-raising committee and the Falher Recreation Development Society.
“The entire committee is excited about hosting the event, and we expect a tremendous turnout,” she added.
Dating back to the inception of the team in the North Peace Hockey League in the early 1950s, as many as 50 former Pirates have confirmed their participation in the big game, including several players who were on the roster when the team terminated operation in 2000.
“As we didn’t anticipate such a high interest from former Pirates to participate in the event, we apologize if we neglected to extend personal invitations to all former Pirates,” she added.
While the main event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., fund-raising, contests, prizes, and festivities kick off with a special ceremonial face off at 5 p.m.
“To symbolize the family generations that have used the arena, we’re going to have a puck-passing ceremony,” said Levesque.
Two families with deep hockey roots in the arena will share the honours – Turcottes and Tardifs.
Roland Turcotte – one of the early Pirates – will pass the puck to son Dan who will then pass the puck to his son Cody.
At the other end, Vic Tardif will pass the puck to daughter Lise Cote – the first female hockey player in the Smoky River Minor Hockey Association and current president – who will then pass the puck to son Taylor.
A game dubbed the Battle of the Vets will face off after the opening ceremony featuring former Pirates.
Prior to the main game, the national anthem will be sung by Ranelle Simard, seven-year-old daughter of former Pirate player Alain Simard.
The game will feature numerous contests, prizes, and give-aways for spectators, and plenty of entertainment, including a skills competition between the midget boys and the old-timers.
Peace River Ford in Falher is sponsoring a shoot-out contest where the holder of one lucky program number will get a shot from centre ice to win a 2003 Arctic Cat 4X4 quad.
Contests include 50-50, a hockey score pool on the score of the game, a toonie toss, and much more.
Tickets for the grain bin raffle will also be on sale.
A special souvenir program is being produced for the event, which will include a profile of the Pirates’ old-timers and midget players in the game, and histories of the Pirates’ franchise and the 51-year-old arena.
Admission prices to the game were determined: adults – $5, seniors and children ages six to 12 – $2.50, children under six – free, with a family rate of $15.
Following the feature game, the celebration continues with an adult social upstairs.
Tickets are $20 each, with a maximum 300 tickets available.

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