Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 92

Mustangs Hockey: A Spring and Summer Tradition Hockey is no longer seasonal. For anyone who has a youngster playing the game seriously, it’s now a 12-month-a-year endeavor. But if you talk to the Mustangs’ Garth Lancaster, competitive spring and summer hockey is not new. Neo Kiemeney By Scott Taylor Photos by J.J. Ali G Carter Bateman 92 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015 arth Lancaster believes the competitive summer hockey craze really began in 1994. The man who operates the 15-team Mustangs Hockey Program, has watched spring and summer hockey become an important addition to the regular winter season. In fact, there seem to be more and more teams starting up every year. “Summer hockey exploded with the Jr. Jets Summer Program in 1994 when Thomas Steen was running his hockey academy at the Highlander,” said Lancaster. “He had his son, Alex, Nigel Dawes and Travis Zajac all playing. “Then Andy Murray and Randy Carlyle got hooked up with Glen McIvor. McIvor had a contract in Edmonton with The Brick Tournament. They are the ones who really started to make it big. Today, there are all kinds of teams all over North America playing in highly elite tournaments. The level of hockey is really something at some of these events.” The Mustangs go back to 1986. The club used to be called the Colts and was originally a summer team that played in one tournament a year in London, Ont. “I talk to people all the time who were members of the Colts,” Lancaster laughed. “It was pretty simple in those days. It was just a group of parents that got together who wanted a little extra hockey for their kids and London had a great summer tournament.” Lancaster, who is retired after spending 37 years at MTS, is now running the Mustangs on a full-time basis. He has been involved in spring/summer hockey for 25 years and he is currently operating 15 teams in different age groups and at least two tournaments. “I’m busier now than I was when I was working,” he said with a laugh. “We have multiple teams in multiple age groups, plus a U-14 girls team. I also do a charity tournament in support of local