SOHL Logo Below is an interesting letter about the beginning and formation of our great "SOHL". It is from one of the pioneers and true gentlemen of our league...JACK WALLACE

My memory fades but I believe the concept of forming an "Oldtimers League" in Southdale started about 1985. At that time a few of us were coaching at the A1, A2, and A3 level out of Southdale, which had natural ice. There was a coaches league in the area and although many of the fellows would have had the skills to play in that league, not all of us could. We started by getting together informally, renting ice, throwing in the sticks and playing for the fun of it. We took ice where we could get it, and that was not many places as we had no credibility, no money and didn't want to play at one and two in the morning. Many of the fellows were from the area but we filled with other people from out of the area to get one team. That is how it started and it just grew.

As the league grew we got more teams and people came to us for help. We were instrumental in fund raising for the artificial ice and fellows like Larry Field, Denis Saltel, Yvan Breton etc. worked tirelessly selling draw tickets to raise money for the new ice plant and building. As the league expanded we got better ice times, we didn't have to play at Maginot on Friday at 12:30 A.M., they gave it to us an hour earlier. We also got ice at Dutton, Max Bell, Sam Southern, Pioneer, Notre Dame and believe it or not, we even had some league games "outdoors". We took what we could get in those days!

We had our problems as we grew. Our annual registration, which was done manually in those days ended up each year with us running down numerous "NSF" cheques. One year our treasurer embezzled a large amount of money, but we did not prosecute. We never did get all of that money back. We took exhibition games in those days and I remember the bench clearing brawl we had at Allard Arena when we played a so called oldtimers team of 18 year olds and beat them. One summer we put a team in the Max Bell summer league and lost every game by lopsided scores.

The league really stabilized when we got artificial ice at Southdale. Over the years many of us sat on the Board of Directors at Southdale and lobbied hard for the SOHL. Guys like Gary MacKenzie worked their butts off for the league.

The league today is a far cry from what we started. It is better run, more financially stable and stocked with great players. We started a fun league and we have retained a fun league. With my hockey skills I could never have played anywhere else and yet I am accepted by a great bunch of guys who play for the fun of it. It is a pleasure to be able to play with guys like Kel, who has a heart of gold; Tony who exhibits everything you want to be in a player; Kirby who is just a pleasure to watch playing the game and countless others who all offer something to the league.

So I am back for another year. Each year I pity the team captain who gets the short straw and gets me on the team as I can't score (at least in hockey), can't check, can't skate and can't drink like the Hornets. But I am back because I love all of you guys and the League.

Thanks to everyone who cares to carry on the tradition and by the way I CAN two step..

Jack Wallace