Playing together, staying together

Bud Weber (center), and his sons Michael (left) and Eric (right), along with grandsons Jack (Far left), Justin (left) and Austin (right) play a weekly hockey game at the Pelham Civic Center. The tradition has been a part of the family since the 1970s. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Bud Weber (center), and his sons Michael (left) and Eric (right), along with grandsons Jack (Far left), Justin (left) and Austin (right) play a weekly hockey game at the Pelham Civic Center. The tradition has been a part of the family since the 1970s. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

Simply put, Helena resident Bud Weber loves hockey.

Weber is 74-years-young, and has been playing continuously for 35 years.

“There’s no game like hockey,” he said with a laugh. “It’s the best game in the world.”

While many kids from his native Philadelphia grow up playing, Weber took a much different route. A trip to visit his brother in Pennsylvania led to an impromptu game with family, and Bud was hooked.

Upon his return to Birmingham after discovering hockey, Bud found the old ice rink on Oxmoor Road, and quickly fell in with a group who played.

He has been playing with the same group since the late 1970s, and calls the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena home.

So naturally, Bud fostered a love for the game in his sons, Carl, Michael and Eric.

Eric eventually went on to play collegiately for SUNY-Canton in Northern New York State before returning to the area and began to play alongside his father.

Justin, 21, is Bud’s oldest grandson and learned the game at an early age. He played through various youth leagues growing up, and at age 12, he got the chance to play alongside his granddad.

Justin became a weekly fixture of the weekly games, and said he had no plans to stop anytime soon.

“It’s something I love,” he said. “I’ve been doing it all my life. It’s a great away to forget everything you’ve got to worry (about).”

While the three generations play weekly for the fun of it, Bud said the family is keeping its eyes on middle grandson Austin. Austin, 16, is a sophomore at Hoover High plays in Huntsville during the week, and is already gaining interest from notable programs.

While the possibility of a Weber in the NHL is there, the three men that play each week all agree that there is nothing quite like the camaraderie found with playing with family. The group has recently been joined by youngest grandson, Jack.

“It’s definitely a good bonding moment,” Eric said. “There are not many sports that I can picture different generations playing (together).”