Main photo: (From left) Barry Gonneau, Adrian Musters, and David Mallette with the 70+ Cup and their championship hats (Supplied by Adrian Musters)
Three talented men from the Huntsville Senior Shinny 55+ and 65+ groups were asked to participate in the 2019 U.S. Adult Men’s Rec Nationals for senior players in Tampa, Florida last weekend (April 11-14, 2019).
Barry Gonneau, Adrian Musters and David Mallette travelled to Tampa where they joined up with a nucleus of snowbird players including four American players from New Hampshire, Boston and Detroit and four other players from Ontario.
“The chance to play in Florida came as a surprise. We were joining a team we knew little about,” said Gonneau.
The players had to participate in practices before the tournament to determine their level of ability.
Gonneau made it to the Tier 1 team called the Florida Leafs. “I was offered defence but played right wing for two games after a player was hurt,” he said.
Musters was asked to be the goalie for the Florida Leafs and Mallette secured a spot on the Teir 2 Florida Silver Leafs team. The ‘Huntsville Trio’ were known as Canadian gentlemen who fit right in and were the difference for their teams.
Both teams played well, with the Florida Leafs sweeping all of their games to win the USA 70+ Cup in the finals against Illinois with a score of 7-1.
The Florida Silver Leafs had a tougher time as they faced off against a very strong team from Michigan in their division and placed third overall.
“I think skating on our big Huntsville ice surface over the past few years made a large difference in my ability to compete so I want to give a big thank you to all the Senior Shinny guys for their part in our success,” Gonneau (aka Gonzo) said.
Gonneau and Musters shared that they sipped their victory libations from the golden cup, endured the backslapping from many well-wishers and headed home tired but happy to have had the opportunity to play hockey with many new friends from Florida.
The Huntsville players were recognized by Florida natives as being ‘stellar’—men who could really move out on the ice—and who also played with heart, scoring, assisting and saving goals throughout every game.
Hockey is still a passion for all three of these players as senior hockey is part of their retirement.
“It gives a guy a chance to still be a kid even though the numbers on the ole ‘age odometer’ say differently,” said Gonneau.
Musters began playing at age 50 and plays to be active, to stay in shape and for the friendships.
Mallette, who plays forward, retired in 1963 after being offered a hockey scholarship at a U.S. college in New York State and began to play hockey again just eight years ago because he still loves the game. Although he lives in Parry Sound, he now enjoys playing four to five times per week in Huntsville and in Bracebridge with both 55+ and 65+ groups.
Mallette is also associated with the Florida Leafs as a scout, and recruited Gonneau and Musters who he knew would be major contributors to winning the championships at the nationals.
The Huntsville Trio want to still be playing hockey into their 80s, as well as make it into the 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame. Well done gentlemen and good luck!
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