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Alumni high school hockey a blast in Middleton on Boxing Day

The Middleton Regional High School has produced some great hockey teams over the years. On Dec. 26 a lot of those players will lace up for the annual Boxing Day MRHS Grad Hockey Tournament. Last year the Ancients under 90-year-old coach Al Peppard drubbed the then-current MRHS team 9-3 in the final game.
The Middleton Regional High School has produced some great hockey teams over the years. On Dec. 26 a lot of those players will lace up for the annual Boxing Day MRHS Grad Hockey Tournament. Last year the Ancients under 90-year-old coach Al Peppard drubbed the then-current MRHS team 9-3 in the final game. - Lawrence Powell

MIDDLETON, N.S. - When they take to the ice on Boxing Day at the Middleton arena, it will be like stick-handling down high school memory lane as personalities from as far back as 1949 take part in the much-anticipated post-turkey tournament.

“The purpose of the tournament is basically to show pride in the school, show pride in the sports teams at MRHS, especially the hockey teams of course,” tournament spokesman Albert Johnson said.

He gave a bit of a rundown on what to expect once the skates are laced up, the sticks are taped, and players from today and yesterday face off for Middleton Regional High School.

“MRHS coach emeritus Albert Peppard will once again handle the coaching reins for the Blue and Gold as he has done since 1949 and later with the start of these Grad Games,” said Johnson. “Coach Pep could possibly see the following in action for his Ancients squad: present Monarchs coach Jim Johnson, Clinton Lewis, Luke Den Haan, Peter Banks, Duane Veniot, Tony Baker, Glenn Johnson, Robert McFadyen, David Robb, Robert MacDonald, Sean Pickrem, Mike Ward, Scotty Gates, Kevin ‘Doc’ Murphy, Jamie Peppard, Greg Cress, Darren Wallace, Trent MacLean, and many others. Whoever suits up for the Ancients they will have the advantage with Coach Pep at the helm.”

Last year Peppard, at the age of 90, coached the team to a 9-3 drubbing of the then-current 2017-2018 Monarchs.

Albert Johnson said the first game of the day is at 5:45 p.m. at the Middleton and District Arena and will feature the 2018-19 Monarch Girls who are sitting in the top half of the Annapolis Valley High School Hockey League versus the Grad Girls from the days of Tammy Belanger and Shelley Williams and Allie Gillis.

“The second game at 6:55 p.m. features all the Boy Grads from after 1998 divided into two teams for what could prove to be some exciting play,” said Johnson.

He said possible star grad boys from that era who have played in the past that you might expect to see include from the late 1990s Josh Harris and Ryan Coleman, and in the 2000s Johnny Spurr, Rick and CJ Robicheau, Brad and Scott Woodworth, Chad Bent, Shane Peterson, Nick Hazelwood, and numerous others.

“The final game of the night at 8:05 features the 2018-19 Monarch Boys sitting in fourth place in the Western Division of the AVHSHL playing against the Ancient Grads from before 1997,” Johnson said.

The evening event is always well attended and the hungry crowds and players look forward to the food available – despite being stuffed with turkey the day before.

Johnson said the full Canteen will be in operation with all the ‘Rink Favourites’ from poutine , fries, frings, onion rings, nuggets, hamburgers, hot dogs, bars, chips, candy bags, and drinks of all kinds.

“Don't forget the best hot chocolate in the Maritimes,” said Johnson.

The tournament charges regular admission with a 50/50 for every game and the usual charge for grad players for expenses, he said.

“Come on out to the Middleton and District Arena on Boxing Day evening to cheer on our present MRHS teams and your favourites from the past,” Johnson said, “as well as to meet old friends and new friends. See you all in the Rink.”

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