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Prince George Rusty Nuts team keeps aging players on the ice

Rusty Nuts team organizer, Dave Bellamy, and player, Gord Flewelling, talk about their time with the Prince George hockey team whose players range in age between 59 and 77 years old.
Rusty Nuts team organizer, Dave Bellamy, and player, Gord Flewelling, talk about their time with the Prince George hockey team whose players range in age between 59 and 77 years old.

Three times a week as many as 40 Prince George players hit the ice as members of the Rusty Nuts hockey team.

They range in age from 59 and 77 years old but you wouldn’t know it watching them skating up the ice and shooting that puck in Kin 3.

The team started up in 1986 when there were a few athletes that wanted to start a masters travel team for those 45 years and older.

Frank Speed came up with the name of the team and created the original logo, Dave Bellamy, team organizer and longtime member, explained.

“We’ve traveled quite a few different places in Canada, Europe and the States,” Bellamy said.

Bellamy always tried to get at least 10 players and a goalie to the out-of-town tournaments and it wasn’t always easy.

“But that’s how the camaraderie came out of it because we had to get guys from all different leagues,” Bellamy said.

They didn’t know each other very well until they came together on the Rusty Nuts team.

The team continues to enjoy a close-knit bond through hockey and Bellamy said he’s still looking for that 80-year-old player to hit the ice. It seems over the years so many have made it to 79, including him, but no one has managed to reach 80 and still be able to play.

Bellamy has played since he was 12 years old and won’t break away from the team any time soon but remains on the sidelines until recent health issues improve.

“I’m glad I’m still able to help with the organizing and we have a great core group of on-ice players,” Bellamy said.

The team has been all over the world to compete through the years including World Cups and other major competitions.

Gord Flewelling is a longtime team member and talks about what it’s like to be part of the Rusty Nuts.

Flewelling started playing hockey when he was little in New Brunswick and it was just part of his life there.

“We used to play all day and we’d put our frozen feet in the toilet to try to unthaw them,” Flewelling recalled.

In Prince George, Flewelling played in the Old Timers’ league for those 35 years and older.

“I started to age out a little bit and I couldn’t keep up with the guys,” Flewelling said, referring to when he was about 57 years old.

He found the Rusty Nuts in 2009.

“You join the team on a trial basis – can you cut the mustard? Do you have the right attitude?” Flewelling said. “We come for the social and every now and then a hockey game breaks out. So long as we’re all here for the right reasons.”

Bellamy and Flewelling have been friends since Flewelling joined the team in 2009 and Bellamy is hoping when the time comes that Flewelling will take over his role of team organizer.

Flewelling, who plays defence, has done the research and knows that to keep fit you need to do about 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.

“When Dave started we were playing Mondays and Fridays but now we’re playing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” Flewelling said. “So I know we’re meeting the minimum requirement as far as that’s concerned and what better way to do it than with a group of people who during the winter months get out of our homes and come on down here and we share some camaraderie and some laughs.”

To avoid one team versus the other, members get switched up all the time and having reversible jerseys makes it easy. So no team is ever the same.

“There’s no animosity – one minute you’re playing against each other, the next you’re playing with each other,” Flewelling said. “It’s all about fun. When you look in your rear view mirror you see old age trying to catch up and as we continue to try to keep our physical fitness and increase the quality of our lives, we’re trying to keep old age back there in the rear view and as long as it keeps chasing us that’s just fine.”

To see the Rusty Nuts in action visit

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