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Monday, June 5, 2023
Sports: Niagara Kings celebrate 40 years of hockey and camaraderie
Members of the two Kings teams, back row, from left: Al Janzen, Bruno Skubel, Fred Teichgraf, Larry Downes, Scott Read, Ted Skubel, Ron Baerg, Dylan Skubel, Ken Hunter, Andy Vanderhoeven, Pete Buis, Rob Neufeld, John Federkow and Mike Wagner. Front row, from left: Don Holenski, Helmut Friesen, Dan Neudorf, Duane Singer, Erwin Wiens, Tim Dyck, Ivan D’Agostino and Clay Johnson. Absent: Dave Mines, Ian Paul, Joe Pillitteri, Ted Riccardelli, Jerry Skubel and Pete Vanderhoeven. (SUPPLIED)

Al Janzen
Special to The Lake Report

Back in 1983, a group of young 20-year-olds, led by Bruno Skubel, decided to put together a competitive hockey club with players who had graduated through the Niagara-on-the-Lake minor hockey system.

So, 40 years ago, the Niagara Kings were born and played most of their competitive hockey in the Sportmans League for nearly two decades.

Led by coach Don Read, the Kings won a number of tournaments including two provincial championships – in 1989 and 1991.

The team moved on to playing pickup hockey on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings.

In 2018, Dan Neudorf and Al Janzen formed a new version of the Kings that began playing Thursday aafternoons.

The new format was simple: Play a little hockey, tell a few lies in the dressing room and socialize at one of Niagara’s fine restaurants after each game.

Thanks to Silks, the Sandtrap Pub & Grill, Butler’s Sports Bar & Grill and the Grist for putting up with us on Thursdays.

Two teams were formed: Team White and Team Black, featuring jerseys with a big “K” on the front.

After a gruelling campaign this past season it appears that Team White took the Kings Cup, winning the last game of the year. But we can’t be sure: it all depends on who you talk to.

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