FOG planned tournament trip for friend

Tillsonburg FOG planned to travel to Nova Scotia later this month to play in one of the world's largest adult recreational hockey tournaments - and are thankful for all the sponsorhip support they received. The 2020 tournament was cancelled on Friday, March 13. From left are (front) Mike VanderGulik, John Sergeant, John McKenzie, Brett Rooke, Dave Prouse, Rick Churchmack, Dennis McCarroll, (back row) Dave Chambers, Kevin Jones, Jim Boughner, Ken Oswald, Paul Mills, Dean Crocker, Paul Weaver, Frank Mifsud, and Eric Holden. (Chris Abbott/Tillsonburg News) jpg, TN

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NOTE: As of Friday, March 13

2020 Tournament Cancelled

After discussions with CBRM officials and recommendations outlined by the World Health Organization, the decision was made in best interest of all participants and the general public to cancel this years Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament. Please allow us a few days to recover from the news and we will be in contact with team representatives.

Stay safe and we hope to see you all return next year!

Board of Directors Vince Ryan Hockey Tournament


The Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament in Nova Scotia is one of the world’s largest recreational adult hockey tournaments, and this year it would have included Tillsonburg FOG.

“The whole deal for this team is this guy right here, Dean Crocker,” said team organizer Mike VanderGulik last week. “We put DC East Coast Hockey right here on the uniforms. He’s got Parkinson’s and this (tournament) was one of his dreams, so all of us pulled together. This is what he said he wanted last summer and I said, ‘OK, let’s make it happen.’ And he didn’t believe me.

“These sponsors helped us get the sweaters and the socks,” said VanderGulik, thanking sponsors Formet Industries (St. Thomas), Turn Key Group Ltd (Windsor), Battery Solutions (London), Boston Pizza, Cando Rail Services Ltd,, Courtland Agromart, Hockey for Everyone (Tillsonburg), and Tuesday Night Oldtimers (Tillsonburg).

The FOG (Fat Old Guys) logo on the new sweaters was taken from VanderGulik’s Tuesday Night team, which left the younger evening league to play morning seniors hockey.

“The odd one of us guys still plays Tuesday nights,” he noted.

Most of the Fat Old Guys are on the ice Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Tillsonburg, including Crocker, from Eden, a native of Cape Breton living in Ontario for the past 30 years, who also plays Tuesday nights.

“I’m from Cape Breton,” said Crocker, “and I haven’t got a lot of tournaments left in me. The guys knew I wanted to go, so they put this together.”

“Sarge, he was one of the 15 guys I asked,” said VanderGulik, with a nod to John Sergeant. “I asked 15 guys and the first 15 who said ‘yes,’ they were in.”

The four-day tournament, played in 10 arenas across the Cape Breton region, annually registers more than 160 teams. Now in its 31st year, it’s known for on-ice sportsmanship and off-ice social events.

Winning, said Crocker, was not a priority for FOG, who would have played Friday, March 20, and twice Saturday, March 21.

“Not to be embarrassed,” he smiled. “Because my family will be watching. And to have fun, have a good time.”

“We don’t care if we win,” VanderGulik agreed. “The whole idea is to go down there for Dean.”

Crocker, 58, started playing hockey at the age of 34 and within a year he was in his first tournament. He tried to put together his first Vince Ryan team in 2004-05.

“Some of the guys knew that, they knew I wanted to do it,” said Crocker. “So I was very touched. They are a great group of guys and they’re all friends of mine. We’ve played a lot of hockey together over the years, we’ve had a lot of fun over the years.”

Hockey is therapy for Crocker.

“This is my medicine,” he said. “I don’t take meds. I was on them for a few years but they didn’t agree with me, so… I play hockey.”