The Flint Oldtimers Hockey Club began their first tournament in 1986 with just 6 teams. Over the years it grew to an event featuring over 100 teams during its 10th year. Bill Everett and his family, volunteers, members and friends have coordinated this event during one weekend in April every year since 1986. During each tournament, a Communications Center is stationed at one of the arenas and team standings are updated on an hourly basis. The communication center also handles a host of other details necessary to keep the tournament functioning on schedule.
A standard round-robin format has each team playing three games against other teams in their respective divisions. Each team is carefully seeded by the tournament committee using such factors as age, hockey experience, and other various parameters. A numerical total of these factors allows for close and competitive groupings in each age bracket. The age brackets range from 35+, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+, 65+ and 70+ . Each division is named after a vehicle that perhaps at one time was built in the Vehicle City of Flint (for example, Seville, Riviera, Blazer, Malibu etc…).
While the fast-paced games will be a fan attraction, a further important economic benefit is the monies infused into the local restaurant, hotel/motel and retail sectors of the Flint and surrounding areas and their economies. Additionally, the tournament event has developed a positive reputation as a “prestige” event by Canadian and local teams and often represents an “end-of-the-season” tournament for many. A Friday and Saturday night dance with music is held at our hotel headquarters (Gateway Inn on Hill Rd in Flint, Michigan).
This event, once named the “Largest Oldtimers Hockey Tournament in North America”, remains in place since Bill Everett initiated it. He lived and breathed hockey until his death in October 2014. His family continues this event yearly having named it “Bill Everett’s Memorial Flint Oldtimers Hockey Tournament”. Bill insisted that it carry on in the event of his death and he wanted all proceeds from this event to continue to go to Whaley’s Children Center in Flint, Michigan.
Teams from Canada and Michigan have continued to attend this event for 30 plus years and the stories of Bill and many of his favorite sayings are shot around like a hockey puck. “Keep your stick on the ice”, “Watch out for those corners” and “Thanks for coming”, were some things mentioned at each tournament by Bill. And so the tournament continues to honor the man who never walked without a goal in his mind.