Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

World's oldest hockey player is right here in Tampa Bay

Before he tumbled, sliding about 20 feet on the ice and long before he jumped the wall near the penalty box to take a breather, Harold Dean told his visitor this:

"Listen, I don't have a lot of time to talk. I'm captain today."

Dean plays hockey several times a week at the Clearwater Ice Arena for the Clearwater Old Pucks in a 60-and-over league. That's in addition to playing at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex at least twice a week.

But even among players still competing well beyond when the ageless Gordie Howe gave up the game, Dean stands out.

At 86, he is officially the world's oldest competitive hockey player, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

"I wish I didn't qualify for the world record,'' said Dean, who lives in Bayfront Tower in downtown St. Petersburg. "I wish I was 60, not 86.''

His isn't some honorary role. In fact, in this game, he scored the first goal. Of course, it didn't hurt that as captain, he made sure to put teammate Mike Dubeau on his line.

"Mikey is the best player on the team,'' Dean said.

Players on the bench immediately began to hoot and holler after the goal.

"Not bad for the old guy!''

"You must've eaten your Wheaties!''

Dean, just waved and continued to play.

With help from family members, Dean contacted the Guinness organization last year. He sent documentation, such as his birth certificate, to confirm that he is indeed an 86-year-old man still playing the sport he learned on a frozen pond in New England about 80 years ago.

"Actually, I'm a computer idiot,'' said the former Connecticut Superior Court judge, who also played hockey at St. Lawrence University in New York. "A niece was really the one who did all the work to get it. We learned in order for them to give it to me, it had to come during a (competitive) game. There had to be referees and a scorekeeper.''

The confirmation arrived at his home a few weeks after he played for a team called the Puckaneers during the Goals for a Cause Charity Senior Hockey Tournament at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar.

In January, he received a letter from the London office of Guinness:

"The oldest ice hockey player is Harold H. Dean (USA, b. 12 April 1929), who played as a member of the Puckaneers Ice Hockey Team in Oldsmar, Florida, USA, on 27 November 2015, aged 86 years 7 months 15 days.''

His wife, Joan, who has known him for well over 50 years, is used to her husband's full schedule.

"I'm not worried about him playing at his age, but to be honest, sometimes when he drives farther away, I do worry about the roads in our beautiful state,'' she said. "He's always either played hockey or, when our kids were little, he coached hockey. A great part of it now is he's with a really fine group of men (the Old Pucks). The locker room stuff is almost as important as the game.'''

Teammates also hold Dean in high regard.

"Harold is greatly respected, and to play like he does, well into his 80s, it's something that we, or I, hope to be doing,'' Dubeau said. "I think it has to with conditioning and the fact he's always played.''

"You know, Harold wakes up every morning with that feeling that he wants to play, to be here with the guys and get out on the ice, and you really have to appreciate that.''

Dean is perhaps less impressed with the Guinness honor than his teammates are.

"Here's the bottom line. About 20 years ago, I was picked for a team in Ottawa and we played for the World Cup (in the 70-and-over division). Now that was really exciting,'' Dean said. "Playing for the World Cup — that's great. The letter from the Guinness people is just telling me I'm old and getting old is not that great."

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected]. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

   
Comments
The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’s more of the same with sunny skies and warm temperatures today. It’ll be a bit cooler at the beaches around the mid-70s, but east of Interstate 75 it will be in the mid to upper 8...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Today the City Council is set to approve a $15 million construction contract and additional money for the next phase of the new Pier District expected to open in the fall of 2019.But even as council members get ready to commit hundre...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 18

Wednesday’s scoreboardSoftballAdmiral Farragut 2, Boca Ciega 1Springstead 10, Nature Coast 4
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Times columnist Tom Jones gives his thoughts while watching the broadcast of Game 4 of the series between the Lightning and Devils:Hard work beats everythingWe watch the Lightning all season long and marvel at its skill. Nikita Kucherov, Steven ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Political skirmish erupts over plan to revamp Hillsborough commission

Political skirmish erupts over plan to revamp Hillsborough commission

TAMPA — A political fight over the makeup of Hillsborough County government could be heading to voters to decide.After a discussion divided along party lines, commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to move ahead with a plan to overhaul the structure of th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Largo police release video as State Attorney clears officer in shooting

Largo police release video as State Attorney clears officer in shooting

LARGO — The Pasco-Pinellas state attorney cleared a Largo police officer who fatally shot a 30-year-old man last month.The letter from State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Officer Matthew Steiner was "in imminent fear for his life" during the March 23 e...
Updated: 8 hours ago
2 men spread affirmations in New Hampshire; bipartisan bill calls for VA to study pot; 3 men convicted in plot to bomb Somali refugees; more in U.S. news

2 men spread affirmations in New Hampshire; bipartisan bill calls for VA to study pot; 3 men convicted in plot to bomb Somali refugees; more in U.S. news

New HampshireWe need more of these signsTwo men are trying to spread some positivity with their feel-good signs. NH1 reported Greg Amaral and Wendell Walker have stood in downtown Nashua with signs carrying positive messages each weekend since Easter...
Updated: 8 hours ago