EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Heart of My Heart" theme song for travelling Chapleau Bantam team on private railway car in 1954

"Heart of my Heart, when friends were dearer then, too bad we had to part.." lines from one of the top songs of 1953 by The Four Aces may well have been the theme song for Chapleau hockey teams throughout the community's history. 

For sure it was the theme song of the Chapleau Bantams hockey team of the day who sang the song over and over again on a road trip to Sudbury in their own passenger car on the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Imagine, a Bantam hockey team having its own private car. 

Chapleau hockey teams were travelling by train at least by 1893 when one went to Sudbury to play. Apparently, they lost 2-1.

However, after playing minor hockey in their home town, many players have moved on to other communities, but whenever they meet, those old good days are recalled. I have written elsewhere that hockey reflects "the invisible hand of Canadian compromise" and is an important part of the fabric of Canadian society.

In fact Dr. Jacques Goutor, who taught me Contemporary European History, more than a few years ago now, told us that after arriving in Canada from France he  told his wife this would be a good country. Why? The headline in the Toronto newspapers was LEAFS WIN STANLEY CUP. The year: 1967! Leaf fans have been hoping for a repeat ever since.

However, commenting on my views about hockey,  Lorne Riley, the head of corporate communications at Dubai Airports, who studied Journalism and Law at Carleton University, and was a student of mine at Chapleau High School responded.

Chapleau fans will recall that  Lorne's father, Lorne Sr. was one of the best hockey coaches in Northern Ontario years ago, and a founder of the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies of the International Junior "B" Hockey League

Although Lorne agreed that hockey is one of the ties that binds this great nation, recalling games huddled under the heaters, or jammed against the glass of the press of the crowd, and an "electric" atmosphere existed especially in the playoffs, he fears the tie is fraying.

He mentioned the decline in local enrolments for minor hockey, especially in Ontario, but across the country and interestingly, at least to me -- "new age diversions like the internet, video games, satellite TV .. things that we never had to contend with" are contributing.

And Lorne added: "Another contributor to minor hockey's gradual downfall is the staggering cost. Equipment, rink rental, club fees and travelling costs have gone through the roof. Even the most passionate hockey Moms and Dads think twice about footing the bill. A changing demographic, with cultural roots more closely tied to cheaper sports like soccer, is also eroding interest and participation in Canada's national pastime.Is Canadian hockey in danger of extinction? Not at all. Is it at risk?"

He concluded that that we need to recall those days when we jammed into the local barn -- "not only to enshrine them in our memory but to use them to encourage parents and children, in small towns and big cities across Canada not to lose touch with our roots and by extension our national identity."

Interesting observations from Lorne, so i decided to share a couple of moments from Chapleau hockey history.

First, back to the Bantams circa 1953-1954. In those days, to end the season, Bantams were divided into two teams and in 1953, it was the first year they played for the Algoma Dairy Trophy. 

Just ask any of the players, it was a hard fought game and the Huskies finally defeated the IOOF 4-3 on a goal by Mike McMullen.

Mike commented: "I remember playing bantam hockey for the Chapleau Huskies team when we won the first Broomhead Trophy in 1953-54... It was an exciting 4-3 victory in overtime over the IOOF team.... We went to celebrate at the Boston Cafe where Harry (Boo Boo) Hong, one of my teammates got his mother to open their family restaurant for our celebration. That game is still mentioned among those of us who played."

Now, let's fast forward to 1970, after Chapleau was connected with highways to the outside world and the Bantams were off to La Sarre for a tournament. The team gave it their best but had to settle for second place. 

They won the first game over Noranda 1-0 and their second 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Jamie Doyle 38 seconds into sudden death. but they lost in the final 5-1 to St Marc Indians.

With no private railway cars available for the trip to La Sarre or anywhere else for that matter by 1970, volunteer drivers were needed and donations were gas as well.helping out on this particular trip according to the Chapleau Sentinel were Bill Walker, Edo Bruns, Father Letendre, Mr. Robitaille, Mr. Parent and Randy Corston.

Volunteers were and still are esential.

Team members, just to jog the memories of those who were following or participating in Chapleau minor hockey included Jamie Doyle, Glen Cappellani, Robert Doyle, Ron Larcher, Kevin Ritchie, Allen Coulter, Keith McAdam, Tom McCrea, Joey Babin, Pierre Joyal, and Michael Paquette. 

I remember these guys so well, both as students at Chapleau High School, and in the Fall of 1970, when some had graduated to the Midgets, they "hired" me to coach their team. They made the next two years of my life among my most memorable, and I still have a plaque all my wall that they gave me.

For sure, I know a tear would glisten, if once more I could listen to those gangs from 1953-54 and 1970-72 who sang "Heart of My Heart." 

Those were the days my friends, and I was so delighted to read in the Chapleau Express that the 2013-14 Chapleau Minor hockey season is off to a good start.  

We need, as Lorne Riley suggested to recall and I would just add continue,  "not only to enshrine them in our memory but to use them to encourage parents and children, in small towns and big cities across Canada not to lose touch with our roots and by extension our national identity."

To conclude, the photos are of the winning and losing teams in the 1953-54 Bantam playoffs because I have friends on both teams and still look forward to singing "Heart of my Heart" with them one more time. And I did not play on either team. I had ended my playing career and become a referee. My email is mj.morris@live.ca


Algoma Dairy Trophy Bantam winners 1953-54 Back from left Basil Collings, Mike McMullen, David McMillan, Richard Pilon, Tim Goodwin. Front from left Charlie White, Ken Schroeder, Harry "Boo" Hong

Bantam coach Garth "Tee" Chambers with Harry "Butch" Pellow and Aldee Martel, Sudbury Arena 1954

Losing team in Chapleau Bantam championship 1953-54 Back row from left Tee Chambers, Jim Machan, Jim Evans, Jack Poynter, Ian Macdonald, Bill McFarlane Front: Wayne Faught, Bill McLeod, Roger Mizuguchi, Aldee Martel

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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