Interview with Pacific Cup Legends the Parksville Eagles

Successfully wrapped up another unforgettable weekend at the CARHA Hockey Pacific Cup in Victoria, BC, a popular cross-border draw for adult recreational hockey. As we celebrated the 45th edition of the tournament, we chatted with Ray Dorkin of the Parksville Eagles from Vancouver Island, a team that has been participating for decades.

 Responses may have been edited for clarity and conciseness.

How long have you/the Parksville Eagles been participating in the Pacific Cup?

I’ve been talking to some of our alumni and our organization has been attending since around 1982/83. I started attending in my 30s and am now 59. One or two of the guys are second generation players at the Pacific Cup.

What continues to draw the Parksville Eagles back to the Pacific Cup year after year?

The team camaraderie and hanging out. We take our wives down every year, this year we had thirteen wives go down. We’ve always made it a tournament that we bring our wives, but this year was the best year for that. The wives get to meet the other wives and they actually have a wives chat group with our team to communicate.

Apart from the Pacific Cup, do you also take part in other hockey tournaments?

This is our regular team that we play with all-year round. We are classified as a travelling team, who travels from Campbell River to Duncan, and play 40 regular games a year. We play in multiple tournaments in Campbell River, but the one tournament we always play in is in October. The Campbell River Oldtimers put on that tournament and the wives go to that too. We have a good time doing that.

How have tournaments contributed to the overall sense of closeness among the team members?

We have had a bus in the past so when we do all our travelling we all get on the bus and that’s another bonding moment for all the guys and they look forward to that and play cards. It a lot of fun. This group is a really good group that I’ve got going right now. We’re all friends off the ice as well. Our group now, for the last three or four years, we get together and play golf once a week.

When we have someone that wants to join the team, it’s always a team decision. I bring it to the team, we don’t care about his calibre of hockey, it’s all about whether he’s a good guy or not. That’s how I’ve built my team over the past ten years. That’s what draws people to want to play for our team. We do include the wives in a lot – Superbowl Parties, Grey Cup Parties, just a party in general to get together on a weekend. I have a waiting list of about eight or nine guys so it’s hard to break into our lineup because nobody wants to leave.

Can you describe the atmosphere of the Pacific Cup and the level of competition you encounter?

It’s been really good. There’s only been a few years where we’ve kind of been out of our league as far as competition and skill level, but the last three years has been pretty good. This year alone all our games were one-goal games. In Beer League hockey when you have a 1-0 game, it’s pretty tense. Keeps everybody tuned into playing the game and playing the systems we have going on.

The tournament is always run so well. Our times are always really good. We usually have two games in one day but they are spread out and not back to back and it’s not early games in the morning so we feel fortunate we have that. I can’t see us ever not going again, it’s run that way.

Because of where we’re situated and the teams that attend, we play Campbell River four times throughout the year and we met them in our division. Which is not a big deal because they are a great group of guys and they play great hockey and it’s fun that way. We don’t see a lot of out of country teams. Once we played a team from Colorado. I would like to see more of that myself, play more different teams from out of province or out of country.

We have played a team in the past from Inuvit. They came down and that was awesome. They game into our room afterwards and gave one of our guys a player of the game kind of thing and gave us all little tokens. They spent a week or two weeks playing golf and touring around Victoria and the island.

Do you have a standout moment or highlight from the current year’s Pacific Cup that you’d like to share?

The tournament is awesome in itself. That’s probably the biggest highlight of our year is going down to that tournament. I know the guys were pretty excited about having Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada happening that weekend and guys took in some events down there. Some even went to the 32 Thoughts podcast as the Sticky Wicket. This year, not a lot of different stuff that we had that’s really stood out, just seeing all the different team and talking to the different teams, and just creating friendships over the years. You see these guys every year and they come back every year, it’s nice that way.

Is there a particular memory from a past Pacific Cup that the team often reminisces about?

Not that I can share (laughs)! I know way back in the day we used to have three teams come, a younger team when I played on the 45s (we’re now 50 and over), we had a 35 team and a 45 team and a 55 team. That is one of the memories that sticks in my mind the most because all three teams hung together. We all went and supported the other teams when they were playing. Especially with the alumni, the older team, a lot of guys don’t play anymore in the tournament, but we would go hang with them, we would run their bench for them and we’ve all just become really good friends. All the younger guys on the 35 team know all the guys on the 55 team. These guys are 70 now and back in Parksville and in the community when we see each other we say hi and go have a beer together. There’s a lot of memories from over the years that even when we’re playing regular games guys will say – ‘Hey, remember when we did this down at Pac Cup or at a different tournament?’ There’s always memories that come up.

Another thing we started implementing this was a player of the game jacket. We had a jacket made up and it has our team logo on it and it says player of the game on the back. And we got a cowboy hat, it’s a purple paisley hat and one of those things where guys stand out. Rule of thumb is that you win that you wear it until the next game. Most of the guys buy in for sure, it’s a conversation piece. I was wearing it this past tournament and there was a girls’ team staying in the hotel who wanted to know where to get one.

Team photo at the Pacific Cup

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