Tiger Mackie tournament returns

PORT HAWKESBURY: After a two year hiatus, the Tiger Mackie Oldtimer’s Tournament is back.

The 43rd annual tournament will take place from Jan. 27 to 29 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.

According to organizers, Eric Irving “Tiger” Mackie was born on March 17, 1914 in Prince Edward Island.

Mackie began playing hockey at a young age and had success with the sport early, the tournament organizers noted. They said he was a member of the 1932 Maritime Champion Charlottetown Abbies team, then started a 30 year professional hockey career that spanned Canada and the United States.

Mackie tried out for the Boston Bruins in 1935 but failed to make the team, however, he did play professional hockey in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Quebec, and Glace Bay before returning to his adopted home of Port Hawkesbury and playing locally.

Mackie settled in Port Hawkesbury and lived much of his life there, said the organizers. They said he worked installing artificial ice plants and cooling systems for local rinks and was instrumental in creating Port Hawkesbury’s first ice rink. Mackie became president of the Strait Area Minor Hockey Association and spent most of his years coaching local teams, said the organizers.

The tournament organizers said Mackie played hockey well into his 80s and died in Port Hawkesbury in 2003 at the age of 89. He was inducted into the Port Hawkesbury Sports Wall of Fame as a builder for his work in the creation of the area’s first hockey rink, they noted.

“The annual Tiger Mackie Tournament has been run in his honour for over 40 years in Port Hawkesbury and celebrates his dedication and commitment to the game,” according a press release issued Jan. 23 by the tournament organizers.

This year organizers said there are five teams in the Over 35 Division, including 2020 champions the Antigonish Old Dogs, vying for the Bill Hood Cup. There are eight teams in Under 35 Division competing for the Greg MacRae Cup, they said.

“We are expecting an exciting weekend of hockey; the rosters are filled with high caliber players,” according to the press release. “Spectators are encouraged to come out and support the teams and our fundraising efforts.”

Noting canteen services will be available, the organizers said there will be a 50/50 draw, and funds raised this year will be directed to the children of the late Tricia Little (Mackie’s granddaughter), who passed in 2021 at the age of 50 after a lengthy battle with cancer.