The Longest Continueing Hockey Exchange in North America
For over 50 years, two communities some 310 miles apart, have been bonded by lumber and a sheet of ice. In mid-November a group of 100 hockey players and their friends and family head south from Saint-Lambert, Quebec to Marblehead, a yearly pilgrimage that has stood firm on the grounds of bridging these two communities through the love of the sport of hockey. The exchange was the brain child of Bill Haskell, a Marblehead Youth Hockey coach who concocted the idea to bring his players to Canada upon one of his many journeys north of the border to procure lumber for his company. Recruiting the " Father of Marblehead Hockey", Donald, "Bud" Orne, to help with the cause was all that was needed, and a few calls to friends in Canada led them to Eric Sharpe, the soon to be mayor of the the suburb of Montreal along the Saint Lawrence River- Saint-Lambert.
Sharpe brought a team down to Marblehead in 1964 and the favor was returned in February the following year. The rest, they say, is history.
What to Expect
- The weekend before Thanksgiving, Marblehead hosts the 3-day tournament at the Lynn Connery Rink. The first weekend of February vacation, Saint-Lambert hosts the event.
- The fun starts mid-afternoon on Friday so early dismissal is needed for some players.
- It is assumed and expected that ALL AA and AAA players attend the November and February exchange.
- Each participating family will host one or two players from Montreal for the weekend, however parents of the players stay in a hotel. Conversely, Saint-Lambert families host the Marblehead kids during the trip North. Exceptions are made for Mite players or players with special health concerns.
- On Friday and/or Saturday night there are team or level events that are organized and paid for by team managers and parents.
- The cost for the tournament is $175 per Marblehead player, $125 for the second child, and $87.00 for the third child. When Marblehead travels to Canada, the Saint-Lambert families return the favor in kind.
- Passports are needed to travel to Saint-Lambert.