Grandfather starred in old APC league
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the second of a two-part column capturing positive outlooks by local minor hockey players.
A visit to the Fielding home in Forest Glen, roughly halfway between Brookfield and Stewiacke, comes complete with views of a vast forest, beautiful trees and spacious fields.
It also includes a man-made pond built by Jeff and Stephanie Fielding, which provided their sons, Cole, 12, and Luke, 9, plenty of opportunity to play hockey during the winter months. Hockey nets can be seen nearby.
As I enjoyed the surroundings for a few moments, my mind flashed back to a Saturday morning during the winter of 1954 when I met Ron Fielding (Cole and Luke's grandfather), then a star player with Truro Bearcats of the APC Hockey League.
Fielding and Jackie Dale, both stars with the Bearcats, had just come off the ice at the old Truro Forum after coaching players from the Nova Scotia Youth Training School.
I certainly knew who they were but I'm certain all they knew about me was here's a kid (I was nine at the time) wearing goalie pads that were three times too big. Nevertheless, they stopped and took the time to talk to me while offering encouragement. It's something I've never forgotten.
Fielding was a high-scoring left winger with the 1953-54 Bearcats. Leading the scoring race late in the season, the first-team all-star broke his hand and lost the scoring crown to Stellarton Royals import Jackie MacKenzie. Dale, his centreman, made the second all-star team.
Fielding, who died in 2007, also played two seasons with the Halifax St. Mary's Juniors and had a stint with the Halifax Atlantics of the Maritime Big Four Hockey League. Following his hockey days, he became a popular harness racing driver at Truro Raceway.
Fielding's son Jeff was an exceptional all-around athlete, toiling 12 seasons as a pitcher in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League with the Truro Bearcats.
In 1994, he was the league's top pitcher with a 5-0 record and an ERA of 1.75 and four years later he joined Dartmouth Moosehead Dry in their successful quest to win the Canadian senior baseball championship.
Fielding competed in seven senior national championships. He also played minor, junior and senior hockey along with minor and high school football.
No surprise, then, that Cole and Luke are having their turn.
"We compete a lot against each other around home," Luke told me. "There's quite a rivalry in pond hockey, road hockey and soccer. Cole is taller than me so I have to work pretty hard to beat him."
Luke went on to say he gets along pretty good with his older brother.
"I mean, most of the time," he quickly added as his father laughs and shakes his head.
Luke is coming off his fifth season in the South Colchester Minor Hockey Association. Playing centre with the Brookfield Elks in atom A, he scored 38 goals and 19 assists and helped his team capture the New Page Cup Hockey Tournament in Port Hawkesbury.
The Grade 4 student at Brookfield Elementary School also enjoys ball hockey and golf.
Big brother Cole played right wing for the Brookfield peewee AA Elks this season, scoring 36 goals and adding 25 assists.
"Sports have provided a lot of fun," said Cole, who helped the Truro Makkar Pure Power Bearcats with the atom AAA provincial championship in 2009-10. "I enjoy meeting new friends and spending time with them. By the season's end, it's just like one big family."
"I enjoyed the season," added the Grade 6 student at Brookfield Elementary School. "With our hockey season over I'm looking forward to watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'm hoping to be golfing during the next week or two. Luke and I will be playing ball hockey at Deuville's Rink right away too."