First Period Intermission - The Early Years
The year following this first tournament, the incorporation of COHA occurred. It was established as a non-profit organization devoted to promoting hockey, fitness, camaraderie and tournaments.
The initial design of the association was to organize and develop tournaments for the oldtimer hockey segment. In the first seven years of operations the tournament entries shot up nearly 800 per cent! The overwhelming desire to play oldtimers was clearly evident. In 1981, Labatt Breweries recognized this trend and signed a sponsorship agreement with COHA to sponsor the various tournaments being held across the country. At this time, membership numbers had grown to more than 10,000 coast to coast with over 450 teams registered.
The scope of the organization started to evolve as the memberships increased and the popularity rose. The need for insurance was apparent when phone calls to the COHA office clearly pointed to the fact that even when playing for fun there is still a need for protection, after all, these players had to wakeup the next morning and head to their real jobs! The rules of oldtimer hockey have always been set to protect the players, there is no body contact permitted and golf shots (the 1970’s way of saying slapshots) were not allowed either.