Ladysmith’s Guinness World Record attempt on Sunday for the largest street hockey tournament in single day drew over 600 players from across the Island, according to organizers.
The five-on-five festivities on First Avenue marked the 10 year anniversary of Ladysmith’s record setting event in 2007.
Attendance didn’t reach the numbers from a decade ago but 49th Parallel’s President Peter Richmond said it was a community event that will go down in the history books.
“I think everybody had fun. It was a beautiful day and we got some great pictures of playing street hockey on the main street,” he said. “The Hip Replacements closed it out with a big show.”
The local grocer helped to spearhead the effort along with a committee of dedicated volunteers. Another 100 people helped out over the weekend to help make the tournament possible.
Ladysmith previously held the record for the largest ball hockey tournament with 2010 players but CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Play On event topped that over a six month period with 35,970.
Retired Vancouver Canucks goalie Richard Brodeur acted as the adjudicator for this year’s event and had an exhibit in the Ladysmith Hockey Hall of Fame at Aggie Hall where some 1,000 people visited during the day.
“Having Richard Brodeur at the hall was another added feature that was appreciated and pretty cool,” Richmond said.
Local organizers will submit a package in the coming days to the UK-based Guinness for review.
But while sticks hit the pavement outside, hockey fans and historians were offered a rare glimpse into the life of the first National Hockey League player killed in the Second World War as part of a collection on display in Aggie Hall.
Toronto native Dudley ‘Red’ Garrett played 23 games for the New York Rangers in the 1942-43 season – the first of the Original Six era – before enlisting in the Second World War.
He was 20 years old when the HMCS Shawinigan destroyer was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland in the Battle of the St. Lawrence.
The full collection includes hundreds of historical primary sources such as letters Garrett wrote back home during his hockey career as well as during the war.
“Everything was done by Dudley’s mother after his passing,” said Denis Holme, who knew Garrett’s sister Allison and eventually came into possession of the collection a few years back.
On display at Aggie Hall were just some of the newspaper clippings and pictures assembled into scrapbooks over 70 years ago.
Behind the velvet rope you could also see the guest book from Garrett’s funeral that includes signatures from some of the hockey greats from that era, including many Maple Leafs.
Garrett’s game sweater, a pair of hockey skates and a stick signed by his Rangers teammates also form part of the collection.
“Up until a few years ago he was still the youngest player to skate in Madison Square Gardens,” Holme said.
The Dudley Garrett memorial trophy was created by the American Hockey League and has been handed out to the Rookie of Year since the 1947-48 season.
Garrett’s mother kept a handwritten letter from future Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk, who thanked her for cufflinks she had presented when he won the award in 1949.
Holme now takes the collection around to schools on the Island and also fundraisers for PTSD sufferers.
Proceeds from the Ladysmith tournament were going towards Wounded Warriors Canada, an organization benefiting Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, first responders and their respective families.
He sees Garrett “first and foremost as a Veteran” rather than a professional athlete.
“For a lot of people the draw is the hockey but if I have a speech by the end of it they’re more intrigued by the man himself and the fact that hockey was so secondary,” he said.
“He paid the ultimate price for defending our country and I think that’s what needs to be commended here.”