WESTLOCK - It’s a long way from Fawcett to Ottawa, but for 82-year-old Ted Dul, it was a trip of a lifetime punctuated by his induction into the 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame May 6.
Dul said the experience was unforgettable for him and his family who made the journey to the nation’s capital for the ceremony that included a hockey game and saw him knighted by 90-year-old Herb Brennan with a vintage wooden hockey stick. The 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame started in 2011 to honour those who still play hockey when they are over 80 years of age and this year’s class included 29 inductees, with Dul the only one from Alberta.
For the game he wore his official Hall of Fame No. 4 jersey and played defence. He said it was far different than playing with his regular team, the Fawcett Funtimers, as there he is the oldest by several years, while the rink in Fawcett is smaller than the NHL standard. In Ottawa, they played on an Olympic size rink, and he said some had difficulty.
“I was in better shape than most of them,” he said, noting the goalie on his team had to be helped back to his feet if he went down to stop the puck.
The teams played three, 20-minute periods, just like regular hockey, but no real break between periods. His team lost the game, but he did manage to get three shots on the net, and felt he could have gotten a goal with a little more puck luck.
Christine Vachon, president of Soul Sisters Memorial Foundation and one of Ted’s daughters, nominated him for the Hall and said she learned of it from her friend, Kari Whelan, who is also a Soul Sister.
Kari’s dad was nominated before the pandemic and the ceremony that year was in Saskatchewan.
“She shared a Facebook memory, and I saw it, and got the details (of the Hall of Fame) from her.”
Along with a few other family members, they attended the ceremony and the game in Ottawa with her father.
“It’s a big deal, more so down east. The guy who handed out the medals is 90 years old and still plays hockey twice a week. In all honesty, the players (80-plus) that are on the team down east play hockey year round and are actually very good. You would be surprised at how fast they can still skate,” she said.