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Sunday, February 21, 2010
Buddy Swanson shares story of the champion Chapleau Jr. 'B' Huskies of 1966-67 (Part One)
To set the stage for the arrival of the 1966-67 champion Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, let's go back in time to 1929 and the arrival of Mac McAllister in Chapleau to work for Canadian Pacific Communications and play hockey for the Chapleau All Stars Junior team.
Mac also noted that the committee decided to have a Husky dog with the letter C around it, thus the Chapleau Huskies. Mrs. Moore, Chapleau's greatest hockey fan, made the Husky dogs, the letters C and the number for each uniform. She then stitched them on to each uniform. What an incredible lady Mrs. Moore was, and thanks Doug for sending me Mac's note.
Fast forward to 1966 and the arrival of the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies, the first major beneficiaries of the artificial ice in the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena, largely made possible by Mrs. Moore's efforts. I am delighted to be able to bring you highlights from the founding year of the Junior "B" Huskies as told to me by Keith "Buddy" Swanson, who devoted much of his life to sports, particularly the Huskies, in Chapleau and until recently was a township councillor. Thanks so much Buddy for taking time to answer questions, and to your sister Sharon for starting it all!
Here is Part one of the story as told to me by Buddy:
Junior B hockey came to Chapleau in 1966 as a result of a chance summer meeting on our golf course between Tom Welch and a visiting director of the Wawa Travellers who were already a part of the NOHA International Jr. B Hockey League that had been formed in the 1965-66 hockey season. It was suggested that since Chapleau and Wawa had already established a fierce rivalry through the Intermediate Wawa Ironmen and the Chapleau Huskies, our participation in the league would be a natural fit.
In 1965-66 Lorne Riley and I had coached and managed a very good Midget team and with the other overage midgets in town we discussed the proposition and knew we probably had a pretty good nucleus of players to start with. Lorne and I travelled to our first meeting of the League in Wawa in the summer of 1966 on Highway 101 West which was being completed that year. We were well received and tentatively approved for entry in the League by Wawa Travellers, Sault Michigan Indians, Soo Ontario Rapids and the Elliot Lake Vikings. With no arena in Elliot Lake at the time, the Vikings played their home games in Thessalon and a few on their outdoor rink in Elliot Lake.
Our next challenge was where would we find the money to operate a Junior “B” hockey club with a budget of approximately $15,000.00? First we needed to find and hold an election from a group of people to form an organization. Three meetings were called and only Tom, Lorne and myself showed up and Jack Shoup at the third meeting. It did not look good but on the urging of Tom Welch, who was the owner of the Chapleau Sentinel weekly newspaper at the time it was decided to go ahead anyhow, and we would all solicit people to be on the executive. Tom was on board from the start and was elected President of the Club.
Bob St. Pierre became the Treasurer later replaced by Sonja Vaughan. I was the Secretary and team Manager. Lorne Riley was appointed Coach. Andre Rioux accepted the Trainer’s job. Directors of the club included Art Grout, Earle Freeborn, Ross Perrigard, Albert Tremblay, Jack Shoup, Ken Stevenson. Roger Mizuguchi handled the advertising and Public relations position. The executive was tasked with the responsibility to fundraise and find sponsors for the Club. As always, the businesses and people of the Town of Chapleau came through in grand style. Tom Welch and I attended the next League meeting in Sault Ste. Marie where the Huskies were officially accepted into the League. We were ready to roll.
Practices started and our roster was quickly set. Richard Morin was appointed team Captain. Richard had already played a pivotal role with the Intermediate B Huskies and had scored the winning goal the season before in Wawa to eliminate the Ironmen and pave the way for the Huskies to go on to the win the NOHA Intermediate B crown in a tense series with Espanola. Merrick Goldstein and Reg Bouillon would be the anchors of our defence having played in the Wawa series with Goldstein recovered from a broken leg suffered in the Int. B playoffs in Wawa. Ted Swanson and John Laframboise were also available. The versatile Gerry Boucher played both forward and defence.
Up front J. C. Cyr, George Swanson and Richard Morin formed an experienced line. Midget grads Corky Bucci, Greg Vaughan and Mickey Jurynec formed a formidable trio and Raymond Larcher, Robert Morin, John Babin, and Bruce Pellow rounded out the forwards. The only Junior aged goaltender available at the time was Jamie Broomhead to start the season. Freddie Coreau of White River was signed after our first two games and became the starter. We started the season with a decisive win over the Elliot Lake on November 5 in Chapleau.
The turning point in our season took place in the 10th game of the schedule against the 1965-66 champion Sault Ont. Rapids team which was the debut for new no. 1 goalie John Loyst from Timmins. Loyst was outstanding all year and was the only out-of town player we had. He was a winner in his first game as Mickey Jurynec scored in overtime to give the Huskies a hard-fought 4-3 win.
Unfortunately it was after that game that Coach Lorne Riley became ill and on Doctor’s advice could not carry on behind the bench. Secretly, I was at first reluctant to take over the coaching reins because we had my two brothers in the lineup, Ted and George Swanson but I quickly became Manager-Coach for the remainder of the season and the playoffs without regret. Lorne and I confided in each other throughout the season and he attended all the games as a spectator while I handled all the practices and ran the bench. The Huskies committed themselves well and finished the season in 3rd place with a 14 win, 8 loss and 2 ties record and had to meet the first place Wawa Travellers in the playoffs first round.
In Part Two, Buddy shares the exciting playoffs that led to tremendous success for the first year team. I will post during this week.
Thanks Buddy. This article first appeared as my Chapleau Moments column in the Chapleau Express.
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