The winner of the 2014 Allan Cup will be decided in Dundas, Ontario in 2014 and two Chapleau boys will be involved.
The Allan Cup, a part of Canada's history since 1890 is the Canadian Men's Senior AAA Hockey Championship.
Charlie Purich, known as the "catalyst" of the Chapleau High School hockey team in the 1960s when Dr. Karl A. Hackstetter was principal, who then played at Laurentian University, and for numerous teams in Dundas over the years where he lives will be a volunteer.
And Jason Ward, who was born in Chapleau on January 26, 1979, and went on to play in the Ontario Hockey League, National Hockey League and American Hockey League is winding down his career playing for the Dundas Real McCoys who will be participating in the Allan Cup.
Jason started his NHL career after he was picked by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, 11th overall in the 1997 draft. He also played for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. While playing in the AHL in 2002-2003 he won the Les Cunningham Award as Most Valuable Player.
Jason had the remarkable distinction of scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot, in his first game in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on December 3, 1999.
He also played on Canada's Silver Medal team in the World Championship in 1999.
Interestingly, from 1968 to 1971, Charlie played for the Dundas Triple Intermediate 'A" team, and now another Chapleau boy is there playing in the Allan Cup competition. Charlie says Jason is "a stalwart" on this year's team, and they met recently -- both born in Chapleau but not knowing each other.
Charlie was in touch by email to tell me the news, and shared some Chapleau hockey memories. Charlie paid tribute to Keith 'Buddy' Swanson for his encouragement about hockey and life. He continues to play in two leagues near his home in Ancaster and still enjoys pulling off the "Buddy Swanson Taught" move--"deke to the left and whatever happens!!!"
Chapleau players from back in the day will understand what happens after the deke to the left.
Charlie added that any time any time one gets to talk about hockey in Chapleau, one gets the "nostalgic feeling" of "having played with Earle (Freeborn), Buddy (Swanson), Zeno (Andre Rioux), Dave Futhey, the Mizuguchi's (Roger, Mark, David), the Bignucolo boys (Albert, Eddy, Joey) and many, many more." I have added full names where needed.
Even when Charlie would return home and watch hockey he never failed to be impressed with the similarity between J.C. Cyr and Reggie Sonego doing their "end=to-end crowd standing rushes". Great comparison Charlie!
Charlie's email continued. "Playing Intermediate hockey in Southern Ontario casts a comparison to any of the Intermediate teams from Chapleau. They would be great matches, even today. Talking about hockey in Chapleau reminds us of what's important, like heading to the old Chapleau Arena to play at 6:00 am at 30 below or trying to dodge the 3 inch cracks on the natural ice that was the base for the skills we learned about hockey."
Jason's parents are Steve and Irene (Fortin) Ward. His grandfather Bill Ward was manager of the Royal Bank in Chapleau from 1970 to 1975.
Charlie and Jason will both be at the Allan Cup. If you are in the Dundas area from April 14 to 19, try to stop by and chat with about "ice time" with two Chapleau boys. Thanks for the memories Charlie and all the best Jason at the Allan Cup. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org