EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Celebrating Golden Moments in Chapleau hockey history after Canada wins at Winter Olympics

"My gosh. This is great. Canada wins hockey GOLD, and it becomes a virtual Chapleau reunion," I wrote on Facebook  moments after Canada defeated Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Russia.

My Facebook page had erupted in virtual cheers as Chapleau folks from all over the place celebrated the victory.

I added: "Thanks for all the comments. So many bring back memories from home. You have made it a GOLDEN MOMENT."

Linda Tebbutt had commented that she noticed the "management team" from Canada "intently chewing gum" and she asked me if I knew what kind it was.

Linda had recalled that when I was coaching hockey in Chapleau, "I do recall seeing a pack of wrappers at your feet at a game or two."

What a memory, and true. I have only chewed gum on the bench, (and while refereeing)  and it was usually several packs, but I really don't know the  brand the Canadians were chewing, but I can relate to them even all these years later since I coached hockey.

It got me thinking about Chapleau hockey moments which  started shortly after the community was established in 1885. Although it was an outdoor rink at first located on Lorne Street across from the CPR shops, we know that in 1893 a local team travelled to Sudbury to play. It lost but may have been the first road trip.

By 1910 there was a local league  playing for the McEwen Cup. According to Vince Crichton in Pioneering in Northern Ontario Robert McEwen operated at pressing and tailoring shop starting about 1905, and later he worked for the CPR pressing uniforms.

Through the years there were many teams in Chapleau, playing in a very competitive town league, first in the old old rink, then the Chapleau Memorial Arena, both located on Lorne Street, then in the Moore Arena at the Chapleau Recreation Centre.

The Moore Arena was named after Mrs. A.W. 'Hockey' Moore one of the community's biggest supporters of hockey teams, who was also largely responsible for raising the money to put artificial ice in the memorial arena in 1965.

One of Chapleau's greatest golden hockey moments surely was in the 1966-67 season when the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, in their first year in the International Junior "B" Hockey League won the league and Northern Ontario Hockey Association titles. The team was first coached by Lorne Riley who was replaced by Keith 'Buddy' Swanson after Lorne became ill -- they simply reversed roles as Buddy coached and Lorne managed the team.

At Winter Carnival time starting in the 1950s after Ernest 'Sonny' Bignucolo, an outstanding goaltender was killed on active service in Canada's armed forces, there was an Intermediate level tournament for the Ernest 'Sonny' Bignucolo Memorial Trophy. It was the major highlight of the carnivals and fans were literally "hanging from the rafters" in the memorial arena.

By the 1930s Chapleau High School had hockey teams, coached by John 'Mac' McClellan, who was at the school for 30 years as teacher and principal. The last CHS teams played in the 1960s ending with the coincidental arrival of the Junior "B" Huskies and the move to the "new" school on the hill in 1966.

The Chapleau Intermediate "A" Huskies played in the Northland Intermediate Hockey League from 1975 to 1979, and it was those years to which Linda was referring when I became a gum chewer. The team never won a league championship but in its fourth year finally defeated their archrivals the Timmins Northstars in the semi finals, and Chapleau celebrated.

Chapleau minor hockey teams have been successful in winning tournaments and championships over the years. In fact, Bantam teams, coached by David Mizuguchi and David Futhey enjoyed much success in the 1960s and provided many of the players for the Junior "B" and Intermediate "A" Huskies.  Mrs. Olive M. Card, who became known as "Mrs. Minor Hockey" served as secretary treasurer for 25 years from 1947 to 1972.

So, while Chapleau never had a hockey team in the Winter Olympics, it has been able to celebrate many "CHAPLEAU GOLD" moments almost from its founding thanks to the dedication of players, coaches, managers, executives, businesses, fans and all the community who have contributed.

Thanks to all of you on Facebook for the reunion. If I had thought of it, I would have posted a video of "Heart of My Heart" by the Four Aces, the theme song of the 1953-54 Bantams on our road trips to Sudbury sometimes in our own private passenger car on the CPR. Those were the days my friends. My email is mj.morris@live.ca 

Names for photos

Robert McEwen donated the McEwen Cup Here is the first winning team in 1911. Photos are numbered: 1, Peter Moran; 2, Gordon Sheppard; 3, Simon Kruger; 4, Harry Morris (my grandfather); 5, Omer Lahay; 6, Oscar Tremblay; 7, Ken McFadden ;8, Charles Mulligan (my great great uncle); 9, Herb Merrick and 10, Robert McEwen.

 Chapleau Junior B Huskies 1966-67. Back from l: Andre Rioux, Lorne Riley, Merrick Goldstein, John Babin, Ray Larcher, Mickey Jurynec, Greg Vaughan, Robert Morin, Reg Bouillon, Gerry Boucher, Jamie Broomhead; Front: Corky Bucci, Jean- Claude Cyr, George Swanson, Richard Morin, John Loyst, John Laframboise, Ted Swanson, Bud Swanson and missing Bruce Pellow, Bruce Fortin.

The CHS team of 1956.A highlight of the year for the Chapleau High School team of 1956 was a trip to Terrace Bay. Back row from left: David McMillan, Doug Sleivert, Stan Barty,Thane Crozier, Clarence Fiaschetti (teacher and coach), George Lemon (principal) Second row: Doug Espaniel, Roger Mizuguchi, Bill Cachagee . Front are Jim Hong, Bert Lemon, Harry Pellow, Ken Schroeder, Robbie Pellow (Mascot) Marc Boulard, Harry Hong, Jim Machan, Ron Morris. Note that Clarence played Junior and Intermediate hockey in Chapleau  and was also first CHS student to return as teacher.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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