The History of Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament
Today, Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament hosts 70 teams who compete in three games over 5 days, with a day of rest and vacation between games. Players ages range from 40 to 96, with divisions for 40 and up, through 75 and up. Many bring family to cheer on their team. All in all, more than 1,100 players attended the Tournament in 2017 and 2018. A similar number is expected in 2020.
In 1973 Schulz’s Santa Rosa Diamond Icers participated in the 4th annual Senior Olympics Hockey Tournament in Burbank, California. The following year, the director of that Tournament asked Schulz if his arena in Santa Rosa could host the future tournaments. And so it began. The tournament has been played at the arena every July since 1975, with the exception of 2001, when the arena closed for a short time for equipment renovations. In 1982 the name was changed to Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament.
Initially the Burbank tournaments had teams playing in one category, age 40 and over. When Schulz took over the 45+ and 50+ Divisions were added. Initially ten teams played in the tournament. As years progressed, more divisions were added, and in 1998, Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament became the first tournament in North America to offer a 75 and over division – a division in which Schulz’s own Diamond Icers played, with Schulz on the team until the year before his death in 2000 at 77.
Over the last 42 years teams have traveled from Finland, Japan, Austria, Australia, Norway and Sweden to play in the Tournament. In 2017, 13 teams traveled from Canada to play, a not unusual number. Teams from outside California numbered 31 in 2017.
In 2002, Jeannie and Monte Schulz became the Tournament Sponsors to carry on Sparky’s tradition of gathering life-long hockey players to compete in their favorite sport and celebrate their hockey friendships and friendly competitions.
Tournament history shows a ‘record’ 64 teams played in 2,000, and celebrated its 40th Annual Tournament in 2015. In 2017, a new ‘record’ of 70 teams took to the ice, bringing more than 1,100 players from across the US and Canada.