EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Olympic Torch Relay "trumps" Dave McMillan hat trick, while Tara recalls 1988 event

It took 34 years for David McMillan to tell me that another athletic event "trumped" the first game he played for the Chapleau Intermediate "A" Huskies in the old Chapleau Memorial Community Arena in October, 1975.

Among all the hockey stories I have ever told, the hat trick that Dave notched in the Intermediate Huskies first home game in the Northland Intermediate Hockey League against Iroquois Falls has to be among my top favourites. Arguably, if Dave, who had travelled to Chapleau from Oakville where he was attending college to join the team, had not come through, the team may have folded before it really got started.

We had opened our first season in Timmins the previous Friday night against the Northstars who became our archrivals, and quite frankly they slaughtered us. At the end of the game I stood on the bench by myself wondering how in the world did I ever get myself into this one. Pat Swanson, who had joined the team but was also at college, came up, and I said, "We need some players." The rest is history. Pat told me about Dave and Paul McDonald, adding they would be willing to travel from southern Ontario to play with the Huskies. I trusted Pat's hockey judgment and Dave and Paul flew to Chapleau for their first game with us. Thus the "Morris airlift" was also born and that's a story for another day.

The old arena was packed and at the end of the second period we were behind 5-2. I could hear the rumblings of discontent among the fans. We went into the third period and the comeback began. I don't recall our other three scorers that night (and I am sure someone will now remind me) but we tied the game, and with only minutes left, McMillan picked up the puck, swooped to the left past the defenders, and from his wrong side fired a shot that beat the Iroquois Falls goaltender in the top right corner for his third and winning goal.. The arena went wild, and we lived to play another day.

On December 31, 2009, Dave travelled to Rouyn-Noranda from his home in North Bay to carry the 2010 Olympic torch after having been selected to participate in the event. Later he said that he was "blown away" by it all as something he will remember for the rest of his life. Family and friends were on hand to celebrate with him.

In a message to me, Dave said, "MJ, this trumps my first game with the Huskies."

Indeed Dave, and that's great. Congratulations!

In 1988 four Chapleau youth participated in the Olympic Torch relay and Tara (O'Hearn) St. Amand took the time to share some memories. Here is Tara's story:

"The selection process in 1988 was much different then it was this time around as we were not able to apply “on line”. We had to fill out ballots that were available at Petro Canada. I spent hours filling out the ballots and bringing them to Art Raymond to mail for me. It was very emotional when I received the notice indicating that I was selected to run. It was even better to be sharing the moment with Pamela (Morin), Paula (Pilon) Taylor) and Alain (Morin).

"Pamela, Alain and I were on a caravan out of Wawa and Paula was on a caravan out of White River. We rode on snowmachines that year riding in the motorhome behind the machine until it was our turn. Our caravan went from Wawa to Dubrueilleville and the caravan from White River came to meet us there taking over from that point on.

"It was such a great experience and a thrill to represent our town in the relay. We were able to light lanterns from the official torch and brought the flame back to Chapleau. We did presentations at all the schools and the public school relit their pilot light to the furnace with the flame. We also has a float in the carnival that year and Mr. Nyman had made replicas of the torch for us to carry.

"I remember it all as if it happened yesterday... and of course the rest of the torch bearers will never let me forget that I was the one sitting on the snowmachine when the flame went out. My helmet had twisted and I was not able to see the flame. They had to stop the relay and relight it."

Tara took family members this year to Wawa and White River to relive the occasion:

"This year was a little different since they were only spidering the flame (runners did not cover areas in between towns). We went to Wawa but unfortunately my son missed seeing the flame and there was limited time to take pictures with the runners, so we decided to drive to White River. It was the best decision we made. Tanya Kim, the host of etalk, was the torch bearer running with the flame. Once she passed it on to the next runner, she stayed around and took pictures with everyone. I was so happy to share this moment with my kids, Ceilidh and Patrick, my mother and my aunt Terri.

"Although I didn't run in this Olympic Relay, it was still a moment that I will never forget."

My email is mj.morris@live.ca. This appeared as my Chapleau Moments column in the Chapleau Express of January 9, 2010.

No comments:

Michael J Morris

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


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE