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Caledon Senior Hockey League celebrates 50th season of competition and camaraderie

June 6, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Jim Stewart

Mike Gasparini, Bill Moyer, and Dave Shoalts are gathered for a hot beverage and chinwag at Tim Hortons in Bolton—just down the hill from the arena that holds most of the Caledon Senior Hockey League’s best on-ice memories.

From the outset of our Tuesday afternoon meeting, it’s evident that this easy-going and engaging triumvirate is feeling festive.

After celebrating Season 50 with over 135 guests at its Annual Banquet at Caesar’s Centre in early-May, it’s apparent to all gathered that these CSHL stalwarts are experiencing the lingering effects of a good party and a gathering of kindred souls.

Shoalts, the retired, award-winning Globe & Mail sports reporter and author of Hockey Fight in Canada, served as Emcee of the gala event. 

Gasparini, a CSHL legend who has skated in all 50 of the league’s seasons, offered an ironic, good-natured dig at Shoalts: “Other than the Emcee, it was a great night and it was nicely done. Each guest received a gift, each female guest received a rose, and we had a great prize table.”

The last original CSHL player reflected on his half-century of experiences.

“What I’ve enjoyed most about these banquets and the league is the social aspect. I’m going to miss playing. We’ve had so many personalities in the league over the years—some completely nuts, but, in 50 years, I only witnessed one real fight.”

Moyer, a CHSL regular for 36 years and the organization’s Vice President, also praised Shoalts’s mic work on May 3 as well as the joys of league membership.

“It was a professional event. We had excellent emcee work and there was so much respect for all who were assembled. I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed playing in the league. It’s competitive; then we go and have a beer together. Chuck’s Roadhouse has become our place to go to after the games.  It’s one of the few local places that stay open late on Monday nights.”

The CHSL VP reflected fondly on the years during which the league’s players would “enjoy their post-game beer at Aldo Buccioni’s Pizzeria on Chapel Street for over 20 seasons.”

“Aldo was not only a generous business owner, but he was a goalie in our league. He’d give us wings and beer for $10.”

Moyer also praised the league’s sponsors, especially “the longest continuous sponsor, which is Fines Ford Lincoln. Bob Fines has sponsored teams for a long time.”

Other sponsors in the venerable six-team league include King Collision Centre in Nobleton, Jiffy Lube, MVS Design, Heart Lake Insurance Brokers Inc, and Rutherford Global Logistics.

It’s evident that Shoalts appreciates the nostalgic remarks made by league veterans like Gasparani and Moyer.

The retired journalist coordinates communications for the CSHL and promotes the 84-player league through social events.

“We’ve even revived the league’s Annual Golf Tournament at Glen Eagle. I hosted it this year and we sent four foursomes on to the course with a nice post-round gathering.”

All three CSHL veterans point to the tireless work of 49-year player and administrator John Castellucci who missed our Tim Hortons’ meeting due to some nagging post-operative complications. Shoalts notes that their colleague has been a significant organizer of the league’s Annual Banquet over the years, including this year’s 50th Anniversary party.

“John Castellucci does so much. He takes care of the sweaters and serves as our Treasurer.  He secured so many of the Banquet prizes for the prize table. John started skating in the league in 1975 and we still hold our player selection draft in John’s basement. This year, another notable thing that John did was bring back the Dick Flood Award named after a much-liked CSHL competitor who died on the ice in the 1990s. The new trophy was awarded to the league’s ‘Best Guy’ and shows the values that are important to the Caledon Senior Hockey League.”

Shoalts also pitches the league during our conversation and explains that, “We’re looking for players 45 years or older to roster our six-team league for the 2024-25 season.”

“It’s been a six-team league from the very beginning and our teams have a maximum of fourteen players including the goalie.  If local players are interested in joining the CSHL, contact our President Rich Petrie or our Vice President Bill Moyer.  Their emails are richpetrie2232@gmail.com or north1892@gmail.com.”

Gasparini looks fondly towards the prospective new arrivals for the 2024-25 season and sees the value of having kept the league going for five decades.

“We’ve created the league for them. As usual, we’ll be playing out of the Bolton Arena up on the hill on Highway 50.”

The old arena on the hill is surely a home away from home for these three Caledon Senior Hockey League vets.

It’s evident from their fun-loving banter at Tim Hortons that the lives of Mike Gasparini, Bill Moyer, and Dave Shoalts—as well as their esteemed colleague John Castellucci – are better due to the decades of competition and camaraderie they’ve experienced through the CSHL.



         

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