At The End Of The Day Tate Locke Loves Hockey

Tate Locke (photo from www.allancuphockeywest.ca)
Tate Locke (photo from www.allancuphockeywest.ca)

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

If you take a quick look at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) archives, it will show that Tate Locke, formerly of the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder men's hockey team, is still the ACAC all-time leading scorer in ACAC hockey history with 188 points (58 goals 130 assists) accumulated during 107 regular season games from 1997-2001.

The next closest is University of Alberta Augustana Vikings' Scott Aucoin (177 points, 61 goals and 116 assists in 136 games from 2009-2014) who played five years to Locke's four in post-secondary sport.

Locke's rookie season in the ACAC was 1997-1998 and the 5-foot-7 dynamo managed an impressive 35 points with eight goals and 27 assists in 24 games.

He upped his game big time for 1998-1999, appearing in 28 games with 12 goals and 44 assists for a league leading 56 points. He would be named to the ACAC All-Conference first team, filling the centre spot.

Locke followed that up with a 49-point performance in 1999-2000 behind 21 goals and 28 assists in 27 contests.

He concluded his time at Concordia in 2000-2001 with 48 points (17 goals 31 assists) accumulated in 28 games.

Asked of the ACAC record  and his time at the Edmonton-based school, Locke, now 43 years-of-age, replied: "I knew (of his ACAC record) but the last time it crossed my mind was seven or eight years ago when someone mentioned it to me. It is a pretty good honour as at the end of the day, there are and have been a lot of good players in the ACAC and to be part of that group is a pretty big honour."

"I have great memories from Concordia. The thing I tell people all the time, is that I am still friends with eight or 10 of them and we get to see each other all of the time. You met in the morning for breakfast and then lunch and with all of the practices and games. You end up spending a lot of time together, where in other hockey, (Junior A, minor and senior) you are at the rink and then you go home."

Team wise, the Thunder would never venture past post-season quarter finals and their best record during his tenure was in 2000-2001 with a regular season record of 12 wins 12 losses and four ties.

"We always had to play NAIT (Ooks) or SAIT (Trojans). We were a competitive with them but at the end of the day they were the better teams."

Prior to joining the Thunder, Locke was a high-scoring centre with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

Named team captain for 1995-1997, he would have 60 games 25 goals 51 assists 76 points and 58 games 30 goals 63 assists 93 points respectively, while also being named the AJHL's Most Dedicated Player in 1996-1997.

Offered various college/university scholarships in both Canada and United States, Locke decided to stay close to home to attend Concordia.

"I just decided to stick around locally. At that time I was a bit of a home body and wanted to be around my friends."

Graduating from Concordia with an Education Degree, Locke had an offer from the Guildford Flames to play professional hockey in the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom.

"I got offered a contract to go overseas to play but due to the fact that I am a home body, I decided that I was not going to do it. I had a contract on my lap and for whatever reason; I did not want to go.

"I think, if I could go back in time, I would have done it for the experience but I am not the type that would have, should have, and could have."

His hockey career continued to flourish as he would be a mainstay for the Stony Plain Eagles playing out of the Chinook Hockey League.

From 2002-2013 he would skate in nearly 200 games with an impressive 104 goals and 207 assists.

The Eagles would earn five trips to the Allan Cup, symbolic of the national senior amateur men's ice hockey champions of Canada since 1908.

"Always the first one on the ice and the last one off the ice during warm-ups," during his playing career, Locke recently finished his first year of coaching PeeWee hockey.

"I got a call from a guy that I had played with at Concordia and he thought that I would be a good fit."

"I love it. But not having any kids myself, there was a lot for me to learn with dealing with their emotions. But at the end of the day they are good kids and they listen well."