Thirty Years of Memories

Chris Roberts/Courtesy of
There was a feeling of nostalgia at the Civic Centre this past weekend.
The main lobby was littered with old Lancers, Blazers and Bobcats memorabilia – jerseys, team photos, programs – and if you’ve been around for most of the organization’s 30 years in business, you may have recognized a lot of old, aged faces.
A mix of close to 30 former Lancers, Blazers and Bobcats players descended upon the Border City for the weekend as part of the first ever Bobcats alumni celebration. Players took part in an alumni game, a banquet supper, and were honoured prior to the Bobcats’ dominating performance over the Grande Prairie Storm on Saturday.
Players attending varied from Darren Tymchyshyn, who suited up with the Lancers from 1982-84, to Tanner Erickson, the Bobcats team captain last season. They donned home and away Bobcats jerseys for the alumni game, which instantly brought back memories, at least for the younger players.
“It’s been six years since I put this jersey on, it brings back a lot of memories, good memories,” said Curtis Johnson, who has the distinction of playing for both the Blazers and Bobcats. “It’s awesome to see how far the organization has come, not just on the ice but off the ice, with the management and all the great things that’s happening these past few years.”
Teams for the alumni game were split mostly by which jersey players wore while they were in Lloydminster, whether it be Lancers, Bobcats, or Blazers. Though, given the age difference between the two teams that created, it may not have been the best choice.
“The score kind of reflected that,” said Tom Decouteau with a laugh, who’s team of mostly Lancers and Blazers lost 8-5. “It looked like it was going to be a blowout in the second half but we managed to get a couple there in the second half to at least make a game out of it.”
Although it wasn’t just the younger guys who looked to still have the speed and skill that made them successful while in Lloydminster.
“For being the youngest guy out there, there’s some guys that could keep up quite good and even had some faster jets than myself, I wasn’t the fastest guy out there,” said Erickson, who has moved on to playing senior hockey with Daysland of the Battle River Hockey League.
In fact, many players took to the ice as though nothing had changed since they laced up for the organization, sporting the same ‘80’s style helmets and gloves they would have worn during their time here.
“Some guys made a point to make sure they brought them out,” said Dean Antos, with a laugh. “It’s good to see a little nostalgia out there.”
Antos played with Decouteau and his brother Bill during the ‘80s, and as Decouteau said, it was the first time many of these players had gotten together or seen each other since then.
“Unfortunately hockey players don’t do a very good job of keeping in touch with each other, but the great thing about hockey players is it’s a fraternity,” said Decouteau. “I haven’t seen some of these guys for a lot of years … we sat down and picked up like it was yesterday, that’s the good thing about hockey players, it’s always a common thought, common brothers-in-arms, you can talk about old times and have a couple laughs and a few beers too so it’s all good.”
Decouteau, along with his brother, came to Lloydminster from Saskatoon as a 17-year-old and called the Border City his home for three years.
“We grew up here as men, left home at 17 and came here, people like the Atkinsons took us in and made us like their own sons and really treated us like first class. It really launched me as a young man,” he said, referring to his then-billet Roy Atkinson, emphasizing that not only do players themselves share bonds with each other, but with the community and the people in Lloydminster.
Other notable players that attended included Greg Holtby, Brent Dallyn, who was the first captain in the organization’s history, and Mark Hallam, who is the organization’s all-time points leader. Current city councillor and first-ever Lancers head coach Larry Sauer dropped the puck during the ceremonial faceoff that night as the Bobcats hosted Grande Prairie.
There are no firm plans in place for future alumni weekends, but it is something the organization plans on discussing more in depth, which, judging from player sentiments this past weekend, would be a much-welcomed idea.
“It’ll be nice to maybe get some buddies from these past teams to come out and skate with them and see them again, and even have some guys that I graduated with last year,” said Erickson in that regard, hoping to return in the future without the distinction of being the youngest player in attendance.