Having turned 80 years old this past August, Jim Stone has experienced much within his lifetime; however this past Saturday, Stone and his family had an opportunity to create an everlasting memory. Jim, along with numerous other 80+ year olds from across Canada had the honour of being inducted into Canada’s 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame.
The event this Saturday kicked off with a game against a Bantam Girls team out of Saskatoon, and was followed by a game between all of the 80 year olds that were being inducted. “Playing against the girls team, we definitely realized how slow we are, but although we may be a bit slower, we still get out there,” Stone laughed. That evening, a banquet was held at the Western Development Museum, where each of the inductees were honoured, and knighted with Bobby Hull’s hockey stick. The event even included a special message from Don Cherry himself. “The whole thing really meant a lot to me because I never dreamed when I started playing hockey, that I would even play as long as I have, let alone be inducted into the hall of fame.”
The annual celebrations for the 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame is typically held in Gatineau, Quebec; however, due to the large number of Saskatchewan inductees; Saskatoon had the privilege this year. “Hosting it here was a big deal for us. We had a committee come together to do all of the planning, and I think the people from Gatineau were impressed with our organization,” Stone explained.
Stone has been a Martensville resident since 1978 and is known by many throughout the community. Having been a member of Town Council from 1982 to 1994, then Mayor from 1994 to 2003, Stone has witnessed the growth of the community firsthand, and seen major improvements of infrastructure over the years. Having never played hockey before, it was the construction of Martensville’s arena in the 1980’s that first saw Stone joining a Men’s Rec League.
With his daily schedule getting a tad hectic, Stone stepped away from hockey for several years, up until ten years ago, when he decided to join the 60 plus old-timer hockey league out of Saskatoon, and to this day, continues to play games multiple times a week, as well as ref games. With a league of approximately 200 players; 22 whom of which are over 80; the league has their own dressing room at Schroh Arena. “It really is a great organization. Most of the guys have played hockey their entire lives and have a love for the game and just want to keep on playing. It keeps us busy, and active, and we just love it.”
When asked what advice he would pass along to anyone that thinks they might be too old to play, Stone said, “Go for it. There is no reason to not keep going. If you want to play, come on out, no matter the skill level, there is room for you!”