EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Contingent travels to Montreal to celebrate Floyd Curry Night at The Forum as Chapleau born National Hockey League player honoured

A Chapleau contingent took the overnight Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train to "do their bit" at a celebration for Floyd 'Busher' Curry of the Montreal Canadiens, according to a story in the Sudbury Star.

It was Floyd Curry Night at The Forum in Montreal, honouring the Chapleau born player who the article noted was "a staunch supporter of Chapleau and environs." He played in the National Hockey League all with the Canadiens from 1947 to 1958.

Curry was born in Chapleau on August 11, 1925, but lived in Nicholson during his early years. He did have relatives in Chapleau.

The Sudbury Star noted that Curry was "well deserving of the support and acclaim of those who knew him personally and of Chapleau hockey fans who knew him as an outstanding player."

The newspaper added that "clean sport" had always been his standard "and had won him the support of his team-mates and opponents."

The Montreal trip was organized by Olive and Don Card, both of whom were greatly involved in Chapleau hockey for many years. In fact Mrs. Card was known as 'Mrs. Minor Hockey' for her 25 years service as secretary-treasurer of the Chapleau Minor Hockey Association. Don coached minor hockey teams and played for the Chapleau  Huskies and the Legion team in the town league.

The Sudbury Star story says 30 Chapleau people made the trip but only includes 17 who were Mr. and Mrs. Milton Schroeder, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Turner, Albert Bignucolo, Roger Longchamps, Mike Mione, Reggie Sonego, Alison and David McMillan, Raymond Brunette, Romeo Levesque, Eugene Fortin. Keith 'Sonny' Chambers and Baisel Collings plus Mr and Mrs Card.

David McMillan and I chatted about this trip when he visited me in Cranbrook several years ago and he advised that Alcide Brunette and Don 'Flappy' Jardine were also there. David has since died.

 I have included photos of teams which had some  players on them who went to Montreal and to provide a glimpse of some local hockey players from the Floyd Curry era in the NHL

If any others have details on this trip or were there please let me know.

Layton Goodwin who had lived in Nicholson when Curry did told the newspaper  "that at the age of four or five young Curry was busy on the ice (Lake Windermere) practising his shots with a broken down stick and an old tin can."

The Curry family moved to Kirkland Lake where Floyd started his organized hockey career.

After six years with the Oshawa Generals and a Memorial Cup win the Montreal Canadiens realized his potential and signed him. He had also become a member of the Canadian armed forces near the end pf World War II.

He played for the Montreal Royals before being brought up to the Canadiens. Playing his his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens it started in 1947 and ended in 1958. During his time with Montreal, Floyd won four Stanley Cups 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958. In his NHL career he played in 601 games, scored 105 goals and earned 99 assists for 204 points.

After retiring as a player, he coached the Montreal Royals, then went on to work for the Canadiens front office for over 40 years as director of sales and travel secretary. In summer of 1968 he was promoted to Assistant General manager. He remained in that position until 1978. During his time in Montreal the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup 6 more times.

Writing on his blog Greatest Hockey Legends, Joe Pelletier noted that for most of his hockey life Curry was a modest player happy to stay in the shadows of hockey's spotlight. Most nights, except one.

"On Oct 29, 1951 -- with then Princesss Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Ediburgh in attendance, " Pelletier wrote, "Curry scored three goals in a 6-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The Princess (who became Queen in 1952) was in the midst of her first royal tour left The Forum under the impression Busher Curry was the best hockey player in the world." 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Chapleau Christmas Decoration Contest on Facebook sponsored by Kevin Walker results in two winners

The first Chapleau Christmas Decoration Contest held on Facebook resulted in a tie, according to Kevin Walker, of  "I'm so Chapleau" fame who organized it.

Just struck me that Kevin, who is from Chapleau, now lives in Fort Erie, but was able to connect to Chapleau through Facebook, and conduct a contest, no problem.

Kevin, who was born and raised in Chapleau, is the son of Billy and Betty-Lou (Simard) Walker, while his grandparents were Bill and Della Walker and Bud and Kay Simard. His brothers are Larry and Bob.

Out of about 40 entries of Christmas decorations in Chapleau all posted on a page set up by Kevin, the two winners were Claire Henderson and Roxann Lynn.
Claire entry
Roxann entry

Each received a security cam from Kevin.

He advised that Claire had the most likes on the site and Roxann the most likes with all the shared likes from posts not on the site resulting in a tie.

I chatted with Kevin on Messenger and he told me that he held the contest "out of love for my hometown".

"I got the idea one day from looking at all the decorations down here in the Niagara Region and thought about Chapleau and all the great houses and all the decorations on them."

He added that it brought back memories to when he was young driving around town with his parents and looking at houses, and felt it would be a good idea..

"I love Chapleau and everyone there."

Kevin's "I'm so Chapleau" comments were most popular so I went back to one he contributed about Christmas and the holiday season. His comments then summed up so well the reason he sponsored the Christmas Decoration Contest. 

He wrote: "When I think about it.  we are all so Chapleau!! Who doesn't remember their childhood in our small northern town without a smile! This year why not make an effort to have an old fashioned Chapleau Christmas and with that I would like to wish everyone a safe and festive Merry Christmas! Oh and a very Happy New Year."

His Facebook contest with photos of decorations from Chapleau certainly brought back fond memories to me and I extend my congratulations to Claire and Roxann, and all those who participated.

As many readers know I taught at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC, where I founded a college graduate program in New (Social) Media Communications, and even though I am now retired, am most interested in applications of social media. Kevin's contest
is a super example, and has great potential for the future to bring Chapleau folks together, no matter where we may live now.

In  looking at the photos submitted, I thought  of Red Skelton and something he said at the end of his television show. It went something like this, "If by chance you should remember something I've said,(or seen) and it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been fulfilled." 

Thanks Kevin. Happy New Year to All. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Once upon a time, Christmas memories from third pew from the chancel steps and below the pulpit at St. John's Chapleau

"Once upon a time, in a land, far, far away, and in a divisional point on the mighty transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was erected a replica of an 'English' church found in the 'Mother Country'", Marion (Morris) Kennedy, wrote in a letter to me shortly before she died on December 26, 2007.

Aunt Marion, daughter of Lil (Mulligan) and Harry Morris and sister of my father, James E. Morris, was writing about St. John's Anglican Church in Chapleau, being a replica of a church in England. She was reflecting on memories of St. John's at Christmas time when she was a young girl "sitting with her mother who was hard of hearing, third pew from the chancel steps and below the pulpit."

Aunt Marion married Harold Kennedy who came to Chapleau as the Ontario Provincial Police officer.

She was kneeling "watching (through her fingers) the parishioners partaking in the Holy Communion rite."

But, Aunt Marion started her letter with a wonderful description of St. John's as it was when she was young, and was the same when I last visited it when home for the Chapleau High School 90th anniversary reunion in 2012.

She wrote that it was "a marvel, with flying buttreses, and inside, carved pews, railings, choir stalls, bishop's chair, pulpit and pipe organ. (As an aside, my family in 1948 donated a Prayer desk in front of the bishop's chair in memory of my father who was killed on active service in the RCAF during World War II).

"Over the entry in the chancel, inscribed on the walls, semi-circle are the words "Enter Into His Gates with Thanksgiving and Into His Courts with Praise" (Psalm 100:4)

"Above the beautiful altar screen three stained glass windows are positioned, centred with Jesus and the famous "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." (Revelation 3:20) and yes, no door latch. St. John and St. Andrew as flanks, and above 'wall to wall' fresco depicting kneeling women.

My aunt, like me, was not in favour of church doors being locked with her comment "and yes, no door latch" but that is a story for another day.

She continues with the popular story among church members years ago about the bellows being worked "by boys given the honour in a cupboard below the organ".
"There was many a tale of the organist wildly pumping the foot pedals and calling for air", when the boys failed to work the bellows.

"The boys carved or wrote their initials on the walls -- one set belonging to the brother of the narrator, and in times of refurbishing the church the initials were always left as is". I wonder if they are still there -- a pretty historic document in the life of St. John's.

As church members exited at the end of the service Christmas greetings were exchanged quietly as the congregation had been very moved 'by the devotion and faith" of an elderly First Nations person who had walked a far distance to attend.

She wrote to me that she recalled this particular service and her thoughts every Christmas no matter where she lived. She added that following the services on Christmas Eve the townspeople from St. John's, Trinity United Church and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church would greet each other on their way home.

She also noted that following Christmas Eve services, neighbours would gather, " in the clear moon lit night with the Aurora Borealis crackling above".

That was my experience too growing up in Chapleau after  attending St. John's, where my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris would leave home early as she was choir director, but walk home with us -- my grandparents Edythe and George Hunt. My aunt and uncle B.W. 'Bubs' and Elsie Zufelt and my cousins Betty, Anne, Joan and Leslie would depart at the Beech Street corner, and we would see them on Christmas Day.

I would also spend time with my Morris grandparents, and Aunt Marion when she was home in Chapleau.

Those were the days my friends in so many ways, and when I came across my aunt's letter recently, decided to share some of it with you. I extend my most sincere best wishes, and every blessing, for a very Merry Christmas. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

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


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE