The Labour Day long weekend invokes many traditions for folks right across Northern Ontario.
For a long-time crew of "experienced" local soccer players, that tradition is the Joe De Fabrizio Masters Soccer Tournament in Bracebridge. For the past twenty years or so, Sudbury has put together at least one team, sometimes more, to compete against others from across the province who have long since put their dreams of playing professional soccer to rest.
With an average age of 49 years, but competing in the Over 35 Division, the local footballers enjoyed a very strong performance this year, working their way through to the final before being dealt a 1-1 (3-1) shootout loss by a team from Muskoka.
The Sudbury Masters kicked off the tournament with a pair of ties, playing Muskoka to a 2-2 draw and deadlocked at 1-1 with Sarabha FC of Toronto. With first place on the line, the northernmost entry blanked the Huntsville Strikers 2-0, earning a berth in final.
The 45 and Over Division was claimed by Orangeville Athletic, also on penalty kicks, beating Muskoka 1-0.
The Sudbury Masters were represented by Benton McLean, Ron Menard, Ray Purdon, Rich Campbell, Chev McLean, Tony Nuziale, Mike Schindler, Dino Moretta, Gianni Vigna, Charles de la Riva, Devin Cranston, Dan Maslakewycz, Gary Choy, Andy O'Neil and Dave Destefanyshyn.