AMHERST – The Amherst Ramblers are now playing in their 45th consecutive season, longer than any other team in the Maritime Hockey League.
That streak will be recognized Dec. 1, when the original Junior Ramblers are honoured on the ice at Amherst Stadium.
“The 24 players, coaches and managers are all surviving,” said Jim Henwood, Amherst Ramblers president “The only deceased member is the founder of the hockey club, Moe Bent.
Former player Gary Boudreau said he is thrilled the team is getting back together.
“What’s spectacular about it is that we’re all still alive,” said the 61-year-old. “And most of the players were from Amherst and we maintained friendships over the years.”
Boudreau said the team was formed after a couple of players got into trouble with the law.
“Moe asked the judge that if he could keep the boys out of trouble for the winter if he would stay their sentence, and that’s how the team got started.
“We were all playing midget hockey at the time and they came to us and asked if we were interested in playing Junior hockey and we all moved over as a team,” he added. “It’s neat to see how it’s flourished over the years. You have to give great volunteers like Walter Maltby and Keith Blenkhorn credit for that. That’s been the case throughout the years. Once a Rambler, you’re alway's a Rambler.”
“Keith (Blenkhorn) has chaired a committee that will turn back the clock 45 years and we’re going to introduce the 1968 Amherst Ramblers on the ice surface at where they’ll wear their 1968 jerseys.”
1967 was the first year the Amherst Ramblers played in Amherst. They played in the New Brunswick League.
In 1968 the Ramblers played their first season in the Metro Valley Hockey League, and are still operating in the Maritime Hockey League.
“Nineteen players have been confirmed to attend this historic event,” said Henwood. “Also in attendance will be Blenkhorn, the first coach, and the first general manager Walter Maltby, and Moe’s two son’s, Jim And George. They will represent the Bent family.”
The president or vice-president of the MHL will also be in attendance.
Blenkhorn said he’s proud of his former players.
“They are productive members of the community, they’re good citizens, and we’re proud of that,” he said.
He hopes people come out to show their support, and so does Henwood.
“We want to fill every seat in this building,” he said. “There are 2,200 seats in the building and that’s our objective, not 2,199, we want 2,200. You can only witness this once.”
Special advanced pricing will soon be announced.
The Ramblers will announce a major corporate sponsor today at Amherst Stadium.
“It’s really going to bring some stability to our hockey team,” said Henwood. “We’ll be able to keep a competitive product on the ice, and that’s what everybody wants.
“One thing this sponsor said is they want to go for a winner this year,” he added. “We have teams loading up in Truro and Summerside, and we’ve beat every good team in the league, except Truro, but we will beat them.