Howard Wesley is this year’s winner of the Tribune’s NHL Hockey Pool, something he’s been participating in for at least a decade but had never won before now. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Cariboo Lake retiree and avid hockey fan winner of Tribune NHL hockey pool

Howard Wesley retired to the Cariboo in 2005 for serenity

Ten times was a charm for this year’s Tribune’s 2019-2020 NHL hockey pool winner.

Howard Wesley said after participating for about a decade he finally won.

He and his late wife, Janis, who passed away last summer, would normally enter the pool a few times.

“If you look back there were even dog names for some of our entries. We just paid $10 a pop.”

While he was not willing to divulge the players he picked and entered for his win, he suggested everyone has favourite players.

“You usually go with a few Canucks if you are a Canucks fan or Edmonton, or whoever your favourite team is and who you think’s going to do what. A lot of guys go with Crosby, McDavid and guys like that.”

Chuckling he added, “it’s just about knowledge and a lot of fun.”

In the dead of winter, when the snow is flying, it gives him something to do — keep track of his point total.

A Vancouver Canucks fan, he said one of his favourite players is Elias Pettersson, ‘the new guy.’

Wesley has some of the original Canucks magazines.

“I’ve got one with Orland Kurtenbach, the first manager, on the cover,” Wesley recalled, noting he also has the original receipts for seasons tickets in 1970 and 1971.

When asked if he’s always been a Canucks fun, he nodded ‘yes,’ and said the last thing he’d be is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

As a boy he and his dad were Montreal Canadiens fans because his dad, who was an iron worker, met a ‘young guy’ at work named John Ferguson.

“Ferguson would get a train ticket to go play for the Melville Millionaires and dad would come home and tell me about this kid. He ended up making it to play for Montreal for 10 years. He was a real nice guy. He was vicious on the ice, but was a real nice guy.”

Once the Vancouver Canucks joined the league he and his dad became fans.

Growing up he never played hockey — Vancouver only had three ice surfaces in those days.

He loved skating and did it three or four times a week at the old forum where they built the coliseum.

“I skated right up into my teens, but there was no place to play hockey.”

Retired, Wesley moved to Cariboo Lake, 30 kilometres north of Likely with his late wife Janis in 2005.

He was delivering concrete to a construction site when he met a guy who grew up on Cariboo Lake.

“My wife and I had been making our way north in a Bigfoot camper and it was December and I told her to look up something around Williams Lake on Remax,” he recalled. “We wanted serenity and to get out of the rat race.”

Today he lives in the five-bedroom house on 20 acres, he bought from a German man.

It had been owned by Karl Welti until 1991 who sold it to a German couple the Wesleys bought from in 2005.

“When Karl bought it, the previous owner had a trap line and a guiding licence and four cabins up the Cariboo River coming from the Bowron Lakes,” Wesley said, adding Karl Welti is a very well respected man who lives at Little Lake.

Eventually Wesley purchased an additional adjacent property.

“We called it Yanks Peak Resort Incorporated.”

He loves the area, he said.

“There are lots of trails, you can go up the mountain and you can go all the way up to Barkerville if you want.”

He has two sons living in Salmon Arm and a daughter in Chimney Valley who followed him to the Cariboo.

Read more: Cariboo Chilcotin region receives funding for fisheries, wildlife habitat projects

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