Allan Beblow has had a couple of milestones in the past few days.
He celebrated his 70th birthday on Monday. And he won the oldest player award at this year’s Estevan Strippers Molson Spring Bust hockey tournament.
A player can win the award just once.
Belbow, who is a winger for the Yorkton Old Relics hockey team, has been a part of that club since they were formed in 1979, and has been coming to the Strippers tournament on an annual basis since the Old Relics were accepted into the tournament for the first time in the early 2000s.
“We’re going to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, so the Relics have been around for many, many years,” said Beblow.
Beblow enjoys coming to the Strippers tournament because it’s a fun event. The organizers treat the players well, and it offers up decent ice times, which Beblow said is important.
“There’s lots of time between games, especially after a noon hour game. We have plenty of time to sit and relax, and do what normal hockey players do after the game,” said Beblow.
The social element is great, especially with the cabarets on the Friday and Saturday nights of the tournament. One of the reasons they keep coming back is the camaraderie with the other players.
“The Strippers put on a good show. They have lots of volunteers, obviously, and the refereeing is good. We’ve never had a problem with that, except when they call penalties on us, obviously,” he said with a laugh.
There are players on the opposing teams he only sees at the tournament, and there is a lot of guys who, like him, have been coming back year after year. He has become friends with a lot of players on the other teams.
Beblow grew up on a farm, and he learned to skate on dugouts and sloughs after he cleared the snow. He didn’t play much organized hockey when he was a child, and only started skating with local teams when he was 15 or 16.
As an adult, he played for any team in need of a player, until the Relics started up, and he became a full-fledged member. It’s been a fun time playing for them.
“I primarily play right wing in most of the games. I switch off between left wing and right wing, but right wing is my favourite position.”
His association with the Relics for so many years has allowed him to make a lot of friends.
“We have a good group of guys, and that’s what makes this game fun, and this team fun,” said Beblow.
He hopes to continue playing for the Old Relics, and to remain a part of the Strippers tournament, as long as he remains healthy, and he can avoid the injury bug.
“My skill level has obviously deteriorated in the last number of years, but I still enjoy it,” he said.