Get ready for the puck to drop on minor hockey action this Friday.
South Simcoe Minor Hockey Association's (SSMHA) annual tournament takes to the ice this weekend under a new name, the Paul Dossey Memorial Tournament, in honour of the late Paul Dossey.
For more than 15 years, the tournament formerly known as the Blue and Gold Classic has seen minor teams from all across Ontario compete for the chance to be known as the best.
Games are scheduled to run all day Friday, Saturday and finish by 6 p.m. Sunday, with teams from U10 to U18, in A, AA and BB categories set to face off at three facilities: the BWG Leisure Centre, the Bob Fallis Sports Centre and the Nottawasaga Inn Resort — Centre Ice Sportsplex.
The first game is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17, which the SSMHA said it chose to coincide with Dossey’s birthday.
“The tournament stands not only as a celebration of the sport but as a living memorial to a passionate individual who played a vital role in shaping the hockey landscape in Bradford and the Southern Simcoe region,” the SSMHA Board of Directors said in a statement.
An opening ceremony is planned at 9:45 a.m. on Friday at the BWG Leisure Centre, where the former Blue Rink is set to be officially renamed to the Paul Dossey Rink.
The changes come in recognition of Dossey, who died Feb. 12 at the age of 66, and left behind a legacy of local leadership as a hockey player, coach, volunteer and president of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Minor Hockey Association. He earned the town’s Lifetime Sports Builder Award in 2020.
Dossey was sometimes known as “Mr. Hockey” for contributing so much of his time to the sport he loved.
While making the motion to rename the rink during the Nov. 7 council meeting, Mayor James Leduc emphasized that “through his determination to ensure a bright future for youth hockey, Paul was instrumental in the successful formation of the new South Simcoe Minor Hockey Association,” and that “his positive impact on the lives of generations of local hockey players will be felt for many years to come.”
During an interview with BradfordToday in 2020, Dossey recalled that he played hockey from the age of “four or five” until he was about 20, when he went on to coach.
Originally from Mississauga, he later brought his then young family to Bradford, and his skills and passion for hockey came along with him.
At the time, the only ice rink in town was at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre on Simcoe Road.
During the interview, Dossey explained ice time was limited, with most of the focus put on rep teams, leaving kids in house league with practice only once a month.
That’s when he first volunteered to serve on the minor hockey executive.
“If you don’t like what’s going on, step up,” Dossey said.
His role on the executive coincided with the construction of the Bob Fallis Sports Complex on Sideroad 10, doubling ice availability in the community.
Dossey helped shape a new approach to hockey development that not only encouraged rep players but gave house league teams the opportunity to develop their skills and build a love of the game.
Under his presidency, the association opened up opportunities for kids at all stages of development to play Canada’s national game and have fun.
There is no fee for spectators of this weekend’s tournament and a full schedule can be found online at sites.google.com/view/southsimcoe23-11-17/schedules-results.
— With files from Miriam King