Murray Owen and Skip Holmes are like the Sedin twins of Kamloops - where one plays hockey, so does the other.
Holmes and Owen are in the hockey competition at the B.C. Seniors Games at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre this week. Holmes, a defenceman, and Owen, a right-winger, are playing for the Kamloops Old Dogs in the 70-plus division.
The men, both originally from Kamloops, have been teammates for much of the past 60 years, from when they first suited up together in minor hockey in 1953. They ended up joining the Regina Pats in the Saskatchewan junior league in the early 1960s, before playing for the Nelson Maple Leafs in the Western International league.
"He looked after me - he was my guardian," joked Holmes. "But he's really a good fellow."
As their hockey careers wound down, they ended up back in Kamloops, Holmes teaching, Owen working with his family's plumbing and heating business. Of course, they also ended up playing hockey together . . . again.
And, yes, they do talk about how their hockey careers have been entangled for longer than most marriages.
"We're wondering what the hell we're doing," Owen said, with a chuckle.
They even were together in the summer, playing junior baseball with the Jay-Rays and then men's fastball with the Highlanders. Those Highlanders were strong in the mid-1960s.
"We had a really good team," Holmes said, "with a couple of really good pitchers."
That's not to say the local hockey teams were any slouches - the Kamloops All-Stars, who won back-to-back B.C. midget titles in 1960 and 1961, have since been inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame. Owen and Holmes were members of those teams, from which Holmes figures six players went on to play junior.
The Old Dogs, who had Thursday off, won their opening two games. Their next game is today at 3 p.m. A victory would move Kamloops into Saturday's final.
Holmes's isn't the only familiar face Owen is seeing this week around McArthur Island.
Many of the players in the hockey competition also come to town during the winter for the Kamloops Oldtimers Hockey Tournament. The popular event usually runs in January at McArthur Island, and features 60-plus, 65-plus and 70-plus divisions.
The Seniors Games hockey competition has the same divisions, along with a 55-plus event.
Owen said a lot of the teams have core groups that return to Kamloops year after year, and many of those players are here this week.
The hockey competition will run through Saturday, with finals scheduled for 8:15 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.
There are at least two other Kamloops Sports Hall of Famers competing this week - but not in the sports for which they are best known.
Alwilda Van Ryswyk, who in 1991 became the first woman to be inducted into the Hall, is competing in the bridge competition. Now in her 80s, Van Ryswyk was a co-founder of the Kamloops Track and Field Club, and an annual indoor meet is named in her honour.
Meanwhile, Kaye Kaminishi, a great baseball player who was inducted in 2011, is competing in badminton. The spry 91-year-old is in men's doubles, mixed doubles and, of course, singles.
The Seniors Games are all about camaraderie and fun.
Liz Dilasser of Sechelt is probably among the biggest proponents of the second part of that. The 69-year-old distance runner competed in the 5,000m on Wednesday, the 1,500m on Thursday and is set to lace up the shoes for the 10,000m on Saturday.
As she finished her 1,500m, she admitted that she didn't know her time - nor did she care.
"I don't class myself as a competitive runner," said the green-clad Dilasser. "I hate to say that, but I don't see myself as a competitive runner. I do it for the love of it."
The Seniors Games are right about her pace.
"I do the best I can," she said, "but not to the stage where I'll hurt. I love my dancing - I do Scotch country dance - and I love to hike. There's a lot of things I still want to do."
The Seniors Games also are about camaraderie for Lenore Montgomery of North Vancouver.
"It's a very nice and supportive bunch," Montgomery, 83, said prior to running in a women's 400-metre race Thursday. She was the only competitor in her age category, so she figured she probably would end up with gold.
Montgomery has made it to most of the Seniors Games since 1990, although she has seen the focus on competition increase in recent years.
For her, though, the event is all about friendship.
With Thursday's athletics competitions half done, Christa Bortignon of Vancouver had already set world records in the 100-metres and 100m hurdles.
Bortignon, 76, trains three times a day, but only began competing in the Seniors Games three years ago. As of noon Thursday, she held 13 world records in her age group.
She also set a Games record in the 400m, finishing in one minute 19.53 seconds.
Margaret Rhebergen of Kamloops set another Games record, in the women's 55-59 outdoor pentathlon. She accumulated 2,793 points.
Harry Thompson set two more 90-plus men's records Thursday, in the 400m (2:14.59) and the 1,500m (12:21.76). Both are Canadian records.
Thompson and Rhebergen each set a record on the opening day of the track-and-field competition.
As Peggy and George Morfitt watched the women's hammer throw on Thursday, she confessed that she didn't start competing until she was 62 years of age.
Her children ran track and cross-country, and she was the dutiful homemaker who washed the socks afterward. Now she's the one getting the socks dirty. Her husband normally competes in tennis, but he is sitting out this year due to a hip injury.
Peggy recalled another friend who also is absent from the Games. The woman's husband is ill, so she had to stay home. She also had survived a double mastectomy.
Her friend now tells Morfitt "we're still buddies. We're not bosom buddies, but we're still buddies."
For Seniors Games results and schedules, please visit 2013kamloopsbcseniorsgames.org.
- With files from Michele Youngof The Daily News.