Men's Ooks hockey team enters hall of fame
New recognition for a legendary perfect season
The 1984-85 Ooks men’s hockey team will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, more than 3 decades after completing a perfect season, a rarity in any sport.
The announcement was made this morning, with the induction to take place May 26 in Red Deer at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. This adds to accolades that include induction into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012 and the NAIT Athletics Wall of Fame in 2007.
“It’s hard to put in perspective,” says Cleo Rowein (Air Conditioning Engineering Technology '84, Sheet Metal Worker '85. ), the team’s starting goalie.
“Back in the day, when we were playing, we never thought about breaking records. It was just a matter of, ‘We’re going to be as successful as we could be.’ Our goal was to win a national championship.”
That they did, and more.
The powerhouse team didn’t lose a single game in the 1984-85 regular and post-season – a first at the time for an Alberta team – becoming the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) champions.
The team won 25 regular season games, 5 playoff games and 3 national championship games, setting several ACAC records.
Amazingly, the Ooks men’s hockey team did it again in 2015-16, completing another perfect season with a 36-0-0 record.
Rowein, who received a NAIT Alumni Award of Distinction in 2004, attended one of the final 2015-16 playoff games.
“I’ll be honest, I get goosebumps in (the NAIT Arena),” he says, recalling being impressed at the game play.
“It made me proud all over again.”
That pride sticks with you for a lifetime, says 84-85 captain Tom Tookey (Instrumentation Engineering Technology ’86).
He looks back fondly on the historic season – grateful for his coaches, assistant coaches and instructors (who were occasionally understanding if an assignment was late due to hockey commitments, Tookey says).
The bonds between teammates last a lifetime, he says.
“[Former head coach] Perry Pearn is a great man, a great friend,” says Tookey. “He was very tough on us, but he also taught us life skills. In many ways he was instructor – teaching us dressing room 101 – how to function as a team, how to get out there and fight the battles.”