The rally call went out... and they came to fill the Barracks.

There were more Cochrane Generals alumni than anticipated at the Feb. 4 Alumni Night, and that was a great sight to see for Nick Maclure, the club's social media manager, who was determined to celebrate the club's rich hockey heritage.

"It was actually better than we thought it was going to be," says Maclure. "A lot of people came who didn't sign up, which was great."

Gens and alumniThe current Generals team gathered with some of the former players and staff for a group shot after the game.

Players and team staff dating back to the very beginning of the team in 1984 to more recent years were treated like royalty by the club. In the licensed section of the arena, they were able to share stories from their times on the Gens and catch up on what has happened since. Others could be seen elsewhere in the arena.

"It was really good because I haven't seen a lot of these guys in probably 35 years," says Keith Grainger, who was a member of the original team, joining at 16 turning 17, and was the team's second captain. "So it's really nice to get together with them. It was just like we haven't missed a week."

Grainger, who now lives north of Cochrane, played until he aged out and says the guys took care of him when he first joined.

Perhaps they were prepping him to eventually be captain. Their first captain Wade Lee, after all, didn't volunteer to wear the C.

"I was told I was captain by one the big defenceman on the team," says Lee, who now resides in Airdrie. "He just came up to me at practice one day and said, oh, by the way, you're captain."

Lee played three seasons with the Gens and says its creation offered a chance to play competitive hockey beyond minor hockey. At the time, Cochrane had a population of around 4,000 people.

"We had a good group of guys, for sure. In Cochrane, when you finished midgets there really wasn't anywhere to go play. There was juvenile, but it really wasn't competitive and a group of dads got together and said we need to do something here, and I think that's where the Generals started."

The Generals played two seasons of junior 'C', won the championship both times, then sought out stiffer competition.

"I remember winning the championship in Canmore," recalls Grainger. "It was a very exciting time, we had a lot of fun and it started off a really good term by the Generals."

Tom Wearmouth, whose dad was one of many volunteers, says the parents did it to keep them off the streets, and says it's impressive that the Gens are still going nearly 40 years later.

"Well, we played juvenile, and then they decided to start this team, and we were pumped. We had a bus, we were rolling. When that bus rolled into town, honestly it was a big deal because these other teams didn't have a bus, but we did."

That old bus is still around, decaying in a field somewhere in Saskatchewan.

gens archivesTrevor Devnich and Chase Kinch check out the collection of photos and keepsakes collected and a younger alumnus Talus Hume can be seen in the background. His dad, Wally, was also a General but was unable to attend.

It does take a large group of dedicated volunteers to keep a junior team alive. Among those attending was Dr. Eugene Kong, who was the team doctor for almost 20 years from the late 1990s to 2017.

"We had a great time. We won a few championships and we made a lot of good friends."

He remembers the early days at the Cochrane Arena before Totem One became their home ice (until 2018).

"I remember the old dressing rooms. I had to put my table in the hallway because the dressing rooms were so small we couldn't put a table in there to treat people."

A table of memorabilia was set up for them to peruse from an archive that's been slowly growing since the beginning of the season, largely thanks to alumni and their families.

The membership on the team's private Alumni Facebook page has also been steadily increasing,

With the 40th anniversary just around the corner, you can't help but believe the seed has been planted for another celebration.

alumniDenis Goodsell swore plenty of different hats for the Gens when they were established, seen here with Chase Kinch, who played for the Gens from 2022 to 2007, before heading to Australia to play a season with the Adelaide A's.


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Alumni gameMost of the alumni watched the game from The Barracks at the Cochrane Arena. Others were scattered throughout the arena.