Bentley Generals true champions

I had a rare experience last Saturday afternoon. I watched a hockey game on TV and got excited about the outcome

I had a rare experience last Saturday afternoon. I watched a hockey game on TV and got excited about the outcome. The Bentley Generals won a major national championship with their Allan Cup victory and even non-hockey fans like me were happy with their win.

The Allan Cup is 101 years old and it represents the best in senior men’s amateur hockey. The Bentley Generals join a long history of champions on the cup and they have brought a true sense of pride and accomplishment to Central Alberta.

I have a healthy respect for senior men’s sports because they play their sport for the purest of reasons- the love of the game. I was well acquainted with this philosophy through my association with the Red Deer Buccaneers football team.

Amateur men’s teams in either sport are filled with players who competed at high levels of pro and amateur competition. They have that fire in their bellies that has been there since the day they were born. They are natural born warriors who are used to the idea of competition as a reason for existence.

Maybe they got disconnected from the pro dream along the way, but they never got disconnected from the lure of competition and the camaraderie of a team. The Generals looked and played like true champions in the Allan Cup.

Somehow a small town like Bentley managed to convince a group of very talented hockey players and a legendary hockey name like Sutter to put on the home town colours and chase a national championship. I think that we can be grateful that Bentley shared their team with the rest of central Alberta.

Personally I feel good for the players who put their lives on hold and chased an elusive championship which amped up the pressure with two overtime periods of tough hockey in the big game.

I feel good for Brian Sutter who managed to add a major Canadian sports trophy to an impressive legacy of hockey achievements with not enough championships to reflect the superhuman work ethic that is a fundamental part of his family DNA.

This is a guy with a car-crusher handshake who knows only one speed- full out. He brought this honest work ethic to the Bentley Generals and the team bought into the concept. Maybe a team of proud Albertan sons with names like Vandermeer and Smyth just get it when it comes to hard work- Sutter style.

The net result was a place in the national sports spotlight for the town of Bentley where life typically moves at a slower pace because casual is a good fit in any small community.

Personally I’ve always had a soft spot for Bentley because it has managed to sustain that small town appeal and avoid the explosive growth of many of its central Alberta counterparts.

My family spent the summer of ’69 in a cabin at Gull Lake. It was a great summer which I still call ‘the last best summer’ because it was so much fun. Part of the appeal was the town of Bentley and I am glad that the team and the town will get to have their own great memories in 2009.

Jim Sutherland is a Red Deer freelance writer.

Just Posted

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read