Vernon Tigers, from left, Graydon Brown, Marty Stein, Terry Mosdell and Dale Rintoul display their championship rings at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

B.C. lacrosse legends celebrate Canadian titles, life after crash

Vernon Senior B lacrosse team survived a 1976 plane crash after victory in Winnipeg

Vernon, B.C. — Like at most reunions, the Vernon Tigers swapped stories, caught up with how the family was and snapped photos with joy.

The big difference with this weekend gathering was that many players from the three-time national Senior B lacrosse team were feeling extremely grateful to be alive.

The Tigers marked the 40th anniversary of their third-straight President’s Cup, but the bigger story was how the 1976 group survived a plane crash into a farmer’s field near Pincher Creek, Alta. Sept. 8 on the way home from Winnipeg.

RELATED: Legendary Vernon lacrosse team reunion will recount titles, terror

Barry Lapointe, the Kelowna Flightcraft pilot who pulled off an emergency crash-landing of a DC-3, saving all 26 passengers on the plane, received the most hugs and handshakes at the reunion, which attracted 62 players, wives and team staff.

“There were some rumours somebody was smoking in the washroom, but Barry said in his speech that a heater had overloaded and there was lots of smoke,” said Marty Stein, who organized the reunion and had taken an earlier flight home. “(Jeff Shirley) Spook told Barry there was smoke coming out of the washroom and he got all the players to the back of the plane. Alice Rintoul (Tiger Dale Rintoul’s wife) maybe said it best when she said ‘If it weren’t for this man (Lapointe), there would be no kids or grandkids for a lot of us.”

Stein said Lapointe also cleared up just exactly where the plane, jazzed up with lounges, couches and poker tables, originated.

“It was an old plane and Barry said it was the only type that could have landed like that. Some guys thought it was Frank Sinatra’s plane or Bing Crosby’s, but it actually was Conrad Hilton’s.”

Stein said captain Jamie McKenzie, a licensed pilot who joined team GM Wolfgang Gachter in calming the player and taking charge of the evacuation, also spoke Saturday night at the Vernon Golf & Country Club.

“Jamie talked about how inspiring our team was and he talked about things a lot of us had forgotten. He spoke for about 20 minutes and was just awesome.”

A total of 21 Tigers purchased commemorative rings marking all three Canadian victories, the other two coming in Edmonton and Vernon.

“Our president Art Horsley did an incredible job for us,” said Stein. “We, as athletes, we never knew what was going in with fundraising and behind-the-scenes stuff. “Danny Holte and Rick (Horsley) bought Art a ring and he was so happy. That was a touching moment.”

Stein said coverage of the plane crash in last Friday’s Morning Star was a history lesson for the younger Vernon generation.

“I talked to a lot of oldtimers and they, of course, remembered the story, but some of the guys’ kids hadn’t heard much about it. It was a big story at the time and is a big part of Vernon’s sports history.”

There were five groups golfing Saturday and Stein said there were no aces or stellar scores, “just a lot of laughs and chuckles.”

Added Stein: “It was 40 years since our ‘78 team but it was like someone pressed pause and we just kept talking.”

Stein plans to lobby the City of Vernon to raise a banner honouring the Tigers at Kal Tire Place.

RELATED: Civic Arena to be demolished


@VernonNews
sports@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Gary Gilchrist of the Vernon Tigers, middle, draws some laughs from teammates Marty Stein, left, and Doug Hengel as they get ready to play a round of golf Saturday during their reunion. (Toby Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Marty Stein of the Vernon Tigers swings away as the three-time senior lacrosse team teed off in a 40-year reunion gathering Saturday. (Tobias Frederiksen/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

Cloverdale Community Kitchen hosts ‘learning’ breakfast for students

Coast Capital Savings offered short presentations on financial topics

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

PHOTOS: Surrey seniors band together at weekly jam sessions

‘My policy is to keep busy doing stuff like this, and you gotta have a smile doing it,’ one woman says

Council to look into Cloverdale arena project

Plans could include twinning existing rink

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

Vancouver police get green light to use drones for investigations

Drones will be used to investigate motor vehicle collisions, crime scene analysis and more

Most Read