© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Ceremonial puck drop
AMHERST – Saturday night was hockey night in Amherst. Not only was it the Junior A Amherst Ramblers’ home game, but it was also the team’s 45th anniversary. To honour the special occasion, the 1968 team was invited on to the ice in a special ceremony to honour the men who started it all.
“It was a very proud moment for me and for my family,” said George Bent whose father founded the team all those years ago.
Bent said his father would be proud to see the team he helped get off the ground still going strong.
“He’d still be a big part of it,” said Bent. “He’d be in the stands for sure.”
Bent said being on the ice brought back fond memories for all the players who helped create the team. Not only did it bring back team memories but memories of the man who created the Junior A team.
“Some of the guys were talking to me about some of the memories they had of my father,” he said. “He was like a second father to some of the other players.”
Walter Maltby was the team’s first manager. He said helping start the Ramblers was a real pleasure.
“99 per cent of the players were all from Amherst and I knew most of them,” he said. “It was a great privilege to get them all together and participate in a junior team. 45 years later, we’re all still here.”
Maltby said the best part of the whole ceremony was seeing all the fans come out to show their support for the original players. He said it was a moment he would never forget.
Former Rambler Terry Buchanan said it was surreal being back on the centerline.
“45 years goes by fast but we have some great memories,” said the former Rambler. “We had a great team and we had great fans. I loved hearing the fans with the cowbells and all of them filling the rink.”
Peter Estabrooks, another former Rambler, said the best part of being part of the legacy was the competitiveness. But, he said he’s not ready to hang up his skates just yet.
“I’m still playing a bit right now,” he said. “It’s such a great sport and it’s physical. It’s a fun sport even though it’s competitive.”
For Estabrooks, the best part of being a part of the Ramblers was making life-long friends.
“It was family and friends playing hockey but a little more serious,” he said.
After the opening ceremony, the former Ramblers gathered in the heated viewing area to watch the current team face off against the Weeks Crushers. The retired team said they wanted their team to win and the Ramblers did not disappoint, winning over the Crushers with a final score of 5-3.