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Sunday, December 3, 2023
Sports: Oldtimers fire it up for annual NOTL Ambassadors tourney
Members of the St. Catharines Pistols celebrate their age 50-plus championship win over the Niagara Falls Breakers on Sunday. Dave Van de Laar

The usual arena sounds of youngsters shouts and glee were replaced this past weekend by the creaks and a few groans of aging oldtimers hitting the ice for the 41st annual NOTL Ambassadors hockey tournament.

But seriously, it’s a fun getaway weekend for the players and a chance to compete with your peers.

The four-day affair featured 24 teams playing in six divisions, with two groups each in the 35-plus, 50-plus and 60-plus age brackets.

Niagara-on-the-Lake native Jason Paul has been organizing the tourney along with his Ambassadors teammates for about 16 years and he said visiting players claim it is “one of the best tournaments around.”

A lot of teams were from across Niagara  but others travelled from the Toronto area, western New York and one came all the way from Florida.

“We get the same groups back,” Paul said.

“For the most part, I’d say 90 per cent of the teams come back every year. There’s actually one team in the tournament (from Thorold) that’s been coming for 41 years.”

NOTL was well-represented by the Crown Royals, which Paul noted is a team run by “local legends” Paul Van Voort, Doug McClure and “NOTL all-time penalty leader Glen Davis.”

When all was said and done, winners were crowned in all six divisions.

The George Werner (35-plus B) division saw the St. Catharines Black Aces shut out the St. Catharines Teepees 1-0.

The Vince Dalbianco (35-plus D) division was an all Duck grouping from St. Catharines. In the final, Duck team #4 beat Duck team #3 by a score of 7-3.

In the Christopher Paul (50-plus A) division, St. Catharines Pistols defeated the Niagara Falls Breakers 5-2.

In the George Ermanson (50-plus C) division, the St. Catharines Silver Aces beat the Damn Yankees from Niagara Falls, N.Y., by a score of 8-1.

The Jamie Froese (60-plus B) division was captured by the St. Catharines Balding Eagles 2-1 over the Grimsby Legends.

The Bill Read (60-plus C) division was won by the Toronto Islanders over Brampton Looking Back 2-1 in a shootout.

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