The OldTimers are getting their old time.
Despite not being sure what caused the ice time impasse in the first place, Port Moody council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to give the Port Moody Oldtimers Hockey Association their requested ice time.
Droves of hockey players piled into council chambers Tuesday to plead their case after their longstanding Thursday night ice time was set to be bumped to 9 p.m.
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Starting 90 minutes later could result in about a third of the league’s 190 players dropping out, according to Port Moody OldTimer Darren McQueen
Getting off the ice after midnight is unworkable for someone who has to head to work at 5 a.m., agreed Tony Pasqualini.
“There is no way I can justify getting off the ice at 1 a.m., shower, change, go home, sitting in front of the TV with a bottle of Fireball and try to get myself to sleep. It’s not going to happen,” Pasqualini said, explaining he would have to bow out and look for a team somewhere else.
“When I heard that we might be losing our ice time it broke my heart,” said Rod Schluter, explaining the ice time change would mean the end of the road for the league’s 70 year old player.
“We just want to keep playing hockey,” Schluter said.
Shane McCardle introduced himself as a “second generation Port Moody OldTimer.”
“We will have a third generation walking into this league and carrying on the torch,” McCardle said.
Other players described decades in the community and numerous charitable acts as well as coaching youth teams.
“You guys are obviously a staple in the community here, I would be surprised if you’d be ignored in an election year,” joked Mayor Rob Vagramov
After hearing from several hockey players, Vagramov attempted to investigate the change to the club’s longstanding ice time.
“What was the driving force for the change?” Vagramov asked. “Does anybody know?”
With no explanation forthcoming, Vagramov suggested pausing any decision until council could find out “what the decision was and why we came to it.”
“Unless there’s something crazy that comes up, I see no reason why we wouldn’t keep the ice as it is,” he said.
Coun. Meghan Lahti put forward a motion that would allow the Port Moody Oldtimers Hockey Association to maintain their ice time.
“I’m prepared to make that decision tonight,” Lahti said.
Making an immediate decision doesn’t seem like sound governance, Vagramov said later in the meeting. It would be more prudent to wait a week, “so that we could at least know what went down and exactly who is impacted by this decision,” the mayor contended.
There seems to be a high demand for limited ice time, said Coun. Diana Dilworth.
“Obviously, staff made a decision because of increased demand on ice time,” Dilworth said. “In saying “yes” to this particular group, we perhaps are saying “no” to groups that may be under-served.”
Lahti’s motion passed 6-0, eliciting applause from the hockey players.
As part of the motion, Port Moody staff are set to submit a report regarding ice time allocation.
Coun. Amy Lubik did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.