Members of Beiseker’s longest-residing families will take on a local ladies hockey team in a special game held this New Year’s Eve at the Beiseker Arena.
In what’s being dubbed as ‘Hockey Night in Beiseker,’ on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m., the Beiseker Bullets women’s team will face off against a squad comprised of local residents whose families have been cornerstones of the community for the last 100 years.
According to Margaret Hagel, a member of the Bullets, the exhibition game was originally intended to be held last New Year’s Eve to kick-start the Village of Beiseker’s centennial celebrations. Incorporated in 1921, the Village of Beiseker officially marked its 100-year anniversary milestone earlier this year, though official celebrations have been postponed until June 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to COVID, we couldn’t do it last year, so we’ve decided to go ahead and do it this year,” Hagel said. “It’s basically the same program – Donovan Hagel has put together a team of the founding family members and we’ll be taking to the ice at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.”
The Bullets are a local women’s team that competes in the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association – a Calgary-based league. Hagel said the team plays at Beiseker’s local arena on Sunday evenings.
“We’ve got a 17-person roster this year,” said Hagel, adding the team has been playing in Beiseker for 22 years.
“We’ve been around for a while.”
In keeping with the centennial-focused nature of the upcoming game, the Bullets’ opponent on Dec. 31 will feature a variety of Beiseker residents whose families have lived in the village and farmed the surrounding fields since Beiseker was first incorporated 100 years ago. Teammates will include members of the Richters, McNairs, Schissels and other founding families.
“You’ve got your Schmaltzes, your Hagels, your Berreths, Tetzes, Langs, Metzgers – the core people from the community whose grandfathers probably had a hand in building that arena,” Hagel said.
She added another important aspect of the upcoming event will be a pre-game ceremony at 4:30 p.m. to unveil the new name for Beiseker’s local rink. She said Village council approved the new name of Doug Hagel Arena earlier this year.
Hagel, whose father is a cousin of Doug, said her older relative's impact in the local hockey community is hard to overstate.
“It took a community to build that arena, there’s no denying that – every family I mentioned had a hand in building that arena,” she said. “But Doug has been there for over 43 years. He’s been a coach, a referee, a player, a building manager, and to this day, he still goes in everyday to check the ice plant. That’s his thing.”
According to Hagel, Dec. 31 won’t be the first time the Bullets have taken part in such a showcase game.
“We did have a hockey game probably three years ago. It was a lot of the older guys in Beiseker – even Doug was playing in that game – and they played our ladies’ hockey team,” she said. “It was a fun night, and the ladies won that, so we told them we’d let them win this one so there will be a third game a few years down the road, but I don’t know.”
As for whether or not there’s been any trash talk in the lead-up to Hockey Night in Beiseker, Hagel said she’s trying to keep out of that, and will let her hockey skills do the talking on New Year's Eve.
“Trust me – the other team is trash-talking pretty good, so I’m not going to go there,” she said with a laugh.