Eagles alumni reunite to share memories

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INNISFAIL – Past Innisfail Eagles players from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s reunited for an alumni game at the Innisfail Arena on Nov. 24.

The event was a fundraiser for Innisfail Minor Hockey.

“The Innisfail Eagles and Innisfail Minor Hockey were looking for a way to show some good support for each other so we came up with the idea of having this alumni game,” said Ryan Dodd, a former Eagle. “Just being able to see some of these guys and going out, passing the puck around brings back some great memories.”

Dodd played for the Eagles for 10 seasons and laced up his skates to join former teammates from the past and not-so-distant past.

The alumni game included past players born in Innisfail on the home team and past players born outside of Innisfail on the visiting team. The event ran two 30-minute periods with a short intermission. The evening also included a puck toss, a 50/50 draw and a silent auction.

Friday’s game was the second Eagles alumni game the organization has had in recent years, said Dodd. The first, several years ago, helped raise funds for a local family affected by tragedy.

Megan McDonald, with the Innisfail Minor Hockey Association, said the event was a great show of support for minor hockey.

“I think it’s great, especially having some of the coaches playing and the kids coming out, supporting and watching their coaches play,” said McDonald. “It’s great for families to get together and for the Eagles and minor hockey to work together.”

One special reunion Friday evening saw former teammates Bernie Vanderham and David Reid play on the same line for the first time since 1971. Both former Eagles also played for the 1971 Innisfail peewee B team and have not played together since. Larry Reid was David’s father and coached the pair that year.

“Having not played for a long time, this was about coming (here) for dad,” said Reid. “It’s for minor hockey and we get to play with some old teammates.

“It’s a great night,” Reid concluded.

Ryan Dodd, Eagles alumni

“Just being able to see some of these guys and going out, passing the puck around brings back some great memories.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.