EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Monday, December 22, 2014

Kevin Walker wins 2014 Annual Buckwheat Award for "I'm so Chapleau"

Kevin Walker is the winner of the 2014 Annual Buckwheat Award for his tremendously popular "I'm so Chapleau" anecdotes which made the top ten list for most popular posts ever on Michael J Morris Reports.

Congratulations Kevin. Well done!

Here is link to "I'm so Chapleau" http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2014/07/kevin-walker-stirs-up-talk-and-brings.html

The Buckwheat Award is given annually for  a feature not written by me.

 It is named after my beloved cat Buckwheat who died in 2009 at 20 years and three months old. In his younger years Buckwheat had no use at all for computers or telephones, and in fact at one point destroyed my last electric typewriter.

As he grew older he mellowed, and would lay down beside me as I typed. but talking on the telephone continued to irritate him.

In 2013, Harry 'Butch' Pellow and Mike McMullen and Ian Macdonald jointly shared the Buckwheat Award 

Butch won for his wonderful story about the Boston Cafe and the Hong family in Chapleau, while Mike and Ian contributed an important piece to the history of Chapleau with their article on the location of the Hudson's Bay Company post. 

Previous winners of the Buckwheat Award, were Mike McMullen, for growing up in Chapleau; Larry Martel, for his CHS volleyball team, and John Theriault for a photo feature.. One of these years we may even get together for an awards ceremony.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Friday Morning Coffee Club Wishes You a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Friday Morning Coffee Club, aka FMCC, brought holiday greetings to shoppers and team members at the Target store in Cranbrook with a rousing rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". It was part of the regular weekly gathering at the Starbucks location in the store. Trina (Starbucks) and Leona (Target) joined the group.

From FMCC were MJM, Joel Vinge, Gerry Warner, Yme Woensdregt, Ron McFarland and Bill Nightingale.

Jim Roberts was travelling but in touch by phone and Mark Spence-Vinge was late arriving as he was assisting packing boxes for Christmas at the Salvation Army.

FMCC extends thanks to Trina (Starbucks) and Leona (Target) as well as store team leader Mike for their assistance with the production.
Antoine, Ron

Although FMCC has been meeting at the Starbucks in Target for a year and a half now, two very special occasions have taken place "off campus"
Brian, Antoine, Bill, Ron

Recently, an awesome Christmas party was held at the home of Ron McFarland which was really enjoyed by all. While FMCC, was at Ron's place for their party, the ladies went out for dinner.
Justin and  Jim at Ron's

Thanks so much Ron for your hospitality and special thanks to Judy!
Back Joel, Mj, Brian, Ron, Mark, Jim, seated Gordon and Bill

The other occasion was Breakfast at the Ranch, organized by Jim Roberts and Mark Spence-Vinge, with special assistance provided by Justin Cleland.
Peter, Yme, Gordon at Ron's
Thanks Jim, Mark and Justin for making it happen. A very special thanks to Joel Vinge for being our "official" photographer.
Back Jim, Bill Joel. Seated Antoine, Gordon, Peter, MJ, Ron, Bob, Mark

FMCC has also celebrated birthdays and sends thanks to Target Starbucks for helping make these occasions special.
MJ and Mark at Ron's
 "We wish you a Merry Christmas, best wishes for the holiday season and a Happy New Year!"
Winston and MJ

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Living 'Underneath the Mountain' at Christmas

When Good King Wenceslas looked out and saw the snow with the moon shining bright in about the year 1000, he could have been describing  the weather in any Canadian community on almost any Christmas Eve in our history.

Before I go any further with King Wenceslas though as revealed in the popular carol 'Good King Wenceslas', I have only recently discovered that he was not really a king, but the Duke of Bohemia, and he was looking out on the Feast of St Stephen, the day after Christmas. To me it doesn't really matter as the carol brings back fond memories and delivers a message that applies any time.

Some readers will recall that my mother Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris directed many concerts and musicals during the 32 years that she taught at Chapleau Public School, and she was also the choir director at St. John's Anglican Church for years. Music was an important part of our home, and that's how I became acquainted with King Wenceslas as a boy. Mom would sing at home.

It became the carol that to me applied most to our weather at Christmas time. Looking outside before leaving for Christmas Eve service, "the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel..."

As we headed to St. John's, I would hum the carol and think to myself that all that needed to be added to it was the smoke going straight up into the skies, the temperature hovering at Fifty degrees below Fahrenheit and the music and wonderful display at Dr. G.E.Young's office. To this day I remember walking with Mom to the church exchanging  friendly greetings with those heading to the Roman Catholic and United Churches -- an ecumenical moment in the village.

The lyrics were published in 1853 by the English hymn writer John Mason Neale.

Now, the carol addresses a subject that I never thought about much as a child growing up in Chapleau. I had my family, friends and a community where people cared about and helped each other in times of need. 

Even though there were times when I missed my father James E Morris who was killed while on active service in the RCAF in World War II, I had my mother, my grandparents George and Edith Hunt and Harry and Lil Morris as well as my aunt and uncle, Elsie (Hunt) and B.W. 'Bubs" Zufelt and my cousins, and my aunt Marion (Morris) Kennedy. And I had my friends, many of whom are still part of my life today.
My Mom and Dad 

But as the King walks with his page, "a poor man came in sight, Gathering winter fuel." The page tells him that this man lives "underneath the mountain."

On Christmas Eve in Chapleau those many years ago, as we greeted people on the street who were going to or coming from their respective churches, I never really thought about those who may be homeless and without food--- living underneath the mountain, so to speak.

The good King took immediate action though, telling his page to gather food and wine and pine logs that they would take to the peasant and see him dine, "through the rude wind's wild lament, And the bitter weather."

The page was ready to give up as the night grew darker and wind blew stronger, but the King encouraged him and they made it to their destination.

At this Christmas time, I extend my very best wishes to my family and friends who have shared moments of their lives with me during the past year. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas.

My thoughts also turn to all those good people, past and present, who at this Christmas time, reach out and care for those who live "underneath the mountain" in Cranbrook, and in all communities.

 I leave all of you wherever you may be with the last words from 'Good King Wenceslas', 

"Therefore ... be sure, Wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, Shall yourselves find blessing." 

As many of you know, especially my former students, I love metaphor and have been collecting them all my life. I hope I have not mixed them too badly as I have talked about the Good King Wenceslas.

Here is "Good King Wenceslas" by Choir at Yorkminster. My Mom would like this rendition.

Merry Christmas! my email is mj.morris@live.ca

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Eve at St John's Anglican Church Chapleau with Ken, Mike and Ian circa 1952

Once upon a time, Michael McMullen, my cousin, and Ken Schroeder, my good friend, shared an exchange of emails about their role at the midnight service at St. John's Anglican Church where Michael had to fight an itch. Ian Macdonald, another old friend, recalled his role as operator of the chimes and ringer of bells.

Michael asked Ken: "Do you remember the Christmas Eve service (midnight I believe) in either 1952 or 1953 that you and I were charged with standing in the middle aisle and determining when people could go up for communion? 

Ken and Mike
"As I recall the church was packed. One reason that I remember it so vividly is that I had to scratch the back of my leg and was too embarrassed to do anything about it while on duty (and display). The relief to do that downstairs afterwards has been etched in my mind ever since!"

Ken replied: "Funny how some things just stick .." Ken advised us that he has now been promoted to stand guard at the foot of the two steps at their church in Hamilton. "Sigi (his wife) lets them out, one side at a time, and I wait to catch  anybody that falters on the steps .....good job ....."

Ian Macdonald recalled his role: "As an aside, my assignment at St.John's for the Christmas Eve service was operating the chimes. It was a job I inherited from Bob Linklater  who was then studying for the ministry at U of T.
ian Macdonald

"You may recall that  the chimes were actually a recording which was played on a set of large speakers in the St.John's belfry connected to a record player and amplifier in the ante room off of the Vestry. There was a real bell in the belfry in addition to the "virtual chimes" which I heard only on very rare occasions. I'm not sure but I think that Miss Herner donated the  sound system. You probably know better than I."

The service at St. John's  was in 1952 or 1953 when Rev. E. Roy Haddon was the Rector.  As an aside, at that time Michael's father Keith, was the People's Warden and my mother Muriel, and Ken's mother, Edith "Teddy" Schroeder, were in the choir. Yes, Mrs. Grout and her sister Miss Sophie Herner donated it. Below, in a photo taken at the party at the home of Brigitte and Pellow in October, 2014, you can see Ian (third from left in back row), Mike (fifth from left back row) and Ken (on extreme right seated). I am at opposite end seated on Frank Broomhead's knee.. Some of the others in the photo were likely at St John's too.

This anecdote appeared in a longer story several years ago. I just thought it deserved to stand alone!

Best wishes to all for the holiday season and Christmas

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fond memories of growing up Chapleau return for wonderful moments at Harry 'Butch' Pellow party

I took a course in twentieth century European history from Dr Jacques Goutor more than a few years ago ago now, and the first thing I learned from him was that hockey kept Canada together. Well, he didn't actually come out and say that exactly, but on the first day of class he told us about his arrival in Canada from France.Dr Goutor told us that upon arriving in Toronto, he went out and bought the newspapers and the headlines were LEAFS WIN STANLEY CUP! It was 1967, our Centennial year as a nation, and the Toronto Maple Leafs had defeated their arch rivals the Montreal Canadiens in six games. It was the last time the Leafs would win Lord Stanley's mug. As an aside Dr Goutor was one of the best professors I ever had and went from Wilfrid Laurier University to the University of Western Ontario. He died recently.
Tee Chambers, Butch, Aldee 1954 & Aldee and Butch 2014

All so typically Canadian for our Centennial year in 1967-- a team from the heart of English Canada wins the Stanley Cup but the focus for the celebrations of the centennial is on Montreal, the major French Canadian city which hosted Expo '67, and the cup is named after an Englishman who was Governor General at one time. 
Trust me on this one! It is such as this that has contributed  to keeping the country together and safe-- the invisible hand of Canadian compromise!

Dr Goutor, who at the time had little knowledge of hockey and its importance to Canadians, said he decided to stay here because it had to be a safe place if the headlines were about a sporting event. He was raised in France and lived through the horrors of World War II and its aftermath.

To this day, I watch the headlines of Canadian daily newspapers, and headline writers are ecstatic on those days they can proclaim victory for their local hockey team when it wins a title, and are beside themselves with joy when Canada wins internationally. In Chapleau, hockey often has dominated the front page headline from the Chapleau Post to the Chapleau Sentinel to the Chapleau Express.
Fast forward to Toronto, October, 2014. The Leafs have still not won another Stanley Cup, but there we were, more than 60 present and past Chapleau residents, gathered for a party at the home of Brigitte and Harry 'Butch' Pellow. We had travelled from many places for this occasion, and of course, when two or more Canadians meet together, two topics arise -- hometown hockey, and that other great Canadian unifier, the weather.
Chapleau hockey players from Yen Hong who was playing Intermediate hockey in 1949, to his brother Jim, to their respective sons Bill and Geoffrey, who played at home in the late 1970s, to representatives from the 1950s of my vintage in minor hockey and Chapleau High School teams were all there. (They even let me be in the group photo as a hockey player as knowing I was not headed for the NHL, I gracefully retired after one year and became a referee. Thanks guys)
 Baisel C, Mike McM Mrs Broomhead, David Mc, Richard Pilon,Tim Goodwin Charlie White, Ken S, Boo Hong
Jim E, Butch, Ian Macdonald, Dr Frank B
Imagine, 60 years later, the "famous" game for Chapleau Bantam supremacy was still on the agenda. Mike McMullen, who was there with his wife Alison (McMillan), had scored the winning goal in overtime. Frank Broomhead, was there and later I was able to send him a photo of his grandmother, Mrs. Broomhead presenting the Algoma Dairy Trophy to the winning team.
But we also played road hockey and river hockey, and for some reason I was a much better player in those venues.
In a story Butch Pellow wrote a while back, he captured the Hong brothers and others so well and I share part of it again with you.

Jim E on left, Mike McM, Yen
Think of that slap shot by Hong, Hong, Hong, or one of the really big guys when it accelerated over the ice ridges and soared away out over the river; or at you directly, then veered away as it embraced the ripples. Can you recall the sound of the skates cutting through the crisp surface as they raced for the puck, can you recall the whack, slap, and clicking of sticks on each other and on the ice? 

"What about the yelling and chanting and the code words that defined the play. “..over here” “…pass it, pass it”; “…go, go go”; “he scores!” etc….; wild enthusiasm and true abandonment because it would be dark very soon and there were very few lights to mark the way home.

Tout le gang
"Do you remember how the Hongs played hockey and skated? Yen sprinted, was light on his feet, very fast and dipsy-doodled like no one else (except maybe Max Bentley). He even bore the nickname “Ziggy”. Jim was a powerful steady and fast upright skater and a great stick handler as I recall; and our friend Boo skated low, took long steady deliberate strides and always made skating fast look easy; he also had his skates rockered so there wasn’t more than a couple of inches touching the surface."   

Harry 'Boo' Hong was not with us as he has passed away, but we remembered him, and it was delightful that his wife Donna was with us from Vancouver. Of course the conversation turned to so many other topics. Some of us had not seen each other in more than 50 years since our days at Chapleau High School.

Bill C, Butch, Joy (Evans), Jim H on right
But it seemed like only yesterday since we were growing up Chapleau, hanging out in the Boston CafĂ©, going down the lake, attending dances at the Legion or Town Hall basement, travelling over the gravel road to Racine Lake for awesome parties the home of the Martel family, preparing for the annual Cadet inspection, banquet and dance, cheering at hockey games in the old old rink and Chapleau Memorial Community Arena, in the electrifying atmosphere of home town hockey, driving around the streets of Chapleau aimlessly in the evening but never too far from Main Street just in case something really big happened, going to house parties, attending church services on Christmas Eve, and the list is really endless.

Ken S, MJM , Yen, Dr Bill Pellow
We were growing up Chapleau and at Butch and Brigitte's party, all were discussed as laughter abounded all day. Those were the days my friends and we thought they would never end, and just maybe for another moment they came alive again at this party

On a very personal note, it was the highlight of 2014 to be with so many old friends as the song says "to pass the time of day" knowing that the greatest resource a community has is its people. My friends -- throughout its history, that has been and is the Chapleau brand. I extend my most sincere best wishes for the holiday season and Christmas to all. Every blessing, and my apologies once again for mixing metaphors!  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

HOCKEY PLAYERS 2014 pic  Back Jim Machan, Vince Crichton, Ian Macdonald, Geoffrey Hong, Mike McMullen, Seated MJM, Frank Broomhead, Bill Cachagee, Butch, Jim Hong, Bill Hong,  (kneeling) Yen Hong, Aldee Martel, Ken Schroeder

 Chapleau Huskies Intermediate team of 1949. Back row are from left O. Robinson, D. Swanson, L. Riley, G. Lucas, Tee Chambers, F.Goheen, K. Strapp, T. Collinson, 'Sonny' Bignucolo, D.O. Payette (manager), P. Serre, R. Hamlin, G. Payette. Front from left, Yen Hong, B. Evans, R. Sonego, Ross Thornton (coach), T. Jardine, A. Mione, J. Morin, M. Mione, C. Fiaschetti.
.The CHS team of 1956-57. Back row from left: David McMillan, Doug Slievert, 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 was playing on the 1949 Junior team, and was also first CHS student to return as teacher.

Thanks to Harry Pellow, Ken Schroeder, Diane (Dowsley) Richardson, Mike McMullen for photos

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sun Valley Song brings great moments in music to Cranbrook

Rev Dr Yme Woensdregt, Conductor, Sun Valley Song
For a week now, I have been inspired by a great choir, but this time it did not happen because I was celebrating Social Media Week or was listening to one of the world's famous choirs complete with the passion of great organists on Youtube.

Admittedly, as I type I am listening to the Three Tenors Christmas Concert recorded in Vienna in 1999, with the headphones kindly given me by my friend Joel Vinge.

The great choir that most recently inspired me  was right here in Cranbrook at Knox Presbyterian Church last Sunday where Sun Valley Song performed  "A Rutterly Wonderful Christmas Concert", conducted by Rev. Dr. Yme Woensdregt with accompanist Wendy Guimont.

I have attended Sun Valley Song concerts previously, but I really looked forward to this one for some reason -- and in the interests of full disclosure, some of my good friends are members of the choir. And so, cynical me, there I was, even sitting near the front, something I very seldom do, with my friends Sharon and Jim Roberts and members of their family .

From the very opening numbers, I knew we were in for a great afternoon of Christmas carols and songs, maybe it was the choreography where choir members lined each aisle before taking their their places at the front. This choir was there to bring us some great moments in music.

Each of the four parts of the program included Christmas songs and carols, including one of my favourites (Yme's too) 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" by the Roman Catholic priest Father Jean Brebeuf. I first heard it sung in French at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Chapleau while attending Christmas Eve mass with my good Roman Catholic friends. I ran back and forth to St. John's Anglican Church only a block away!

Many of the arrangements were by John Rutter, the distinguished British composer, conductor, editor,and arranger mostly of choral music, a wonderful choice for the Sun Valley Song concert.

Each number was greeted with sustained applause by the capacity audience, but it was the encore that brought us to our feet, and a week later is still inspiring me and bringing back wonderful memories. Choirs and organs were  not part of  my upbringing: but part of my DNA. My grandfather George Hunt, who played organ in churches and, yes, piano in English pubs, played for family concerts Sunday after church. His daughter, Muriel, my mother, with her incredible soprano voice, was a soloist, choir director and director of musicals, including 'HMS Pinafore' by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The Sun Valley Song rendition of 'O Holy Night' arranged by Dr. Woensdregt was simply superb, likely the best I have heard, and was greeted with sustained applause by the very appreciative audience. In fact, after I got home, I listened to it sung by some of the world's great choirs, and I will go with the one I heard at this concert.

To me, there is nothing more beautiful than voices of a great choir and  for each choir and each song I hear, a story from my own personal experience arose, and I am  connected in a moment to my past, present and future. Also I am Irish on my father's side, and I have a photo of my parents beside my computer, and they are always smiling, but sometimes moreso when I am listening to great music. I know. I know, but just for a moment my parents were there at the Sun Valley Song concert as the choir sang 'O Holy Night'.
However, as I have noted on other occasions, In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I neither play nor sing well, but have directed concerts and musicals and studied drama at the University of Toronto.

Sun Valley Song members include: Sopranos -- Lynn Campbell, Jan Gordon Hooker, Janine Grieve, Anne Jones, Tracey Kasner, Elizabeth Ross, Linda Rothero, Betty Wardle; Tenor -- Ian Adams, Peter Davidson, Steve Knowles, Bill Lindell, Roger Mitchell, Leslie Molnar, Joel Vinge, Gretchen Whetham; Alto -- Ellen Bailey, Caroline Gottinger, Katherine Kuczerpa-Zorn, Cynthia Lindell, Judy McFarland, Heather Nish, Carolyn Shepherd, Lynne Zacharias; Bass -- Gordon Ambrose, Bill Bale, Jim Buhler, Dave Grieve, Michael Jones, Dean Nish, Peter Schalk.

Thank you so much for the  great moment! Every blessing for the holiday season and Christmas.

My email is mj.morris@liveca

Andy Anderson worked at Smith and Chapple 35 years recalled Christmas as "busiest time" of year

Lindsay Anderson, best known simply as "Andy" who worked at Smith and Chapple Ltd. for 35 years recalled that "the busiest time of the year" was at Christmas.
In a 1987 interview with the Chapleau Sentinel as the store, one of Chapleau's historic businesses closed its doors, Andy said, it was the time when "the big shipment of bikes and trikes and electric trains and all sorts of dolls for the girls would come in. We used to get them especially for Christmas but later on we started to order toys all year round."

Andy started working at Smith and Chapple in 1947 and during the 1950s particularly, after Smith and Chapple expanded across the street from its main store at Birch and Young streets, the Christmas draws hosted by Arthur Grout, the store president, were a highlight of the holiday season.
Numbers were placed throughout the store and if you happened to be standing at one, you would win a prize.
In the Sentinel story, Bill Payette, who had joined the store in 1941, paid tribute to Andy. Bill's father, D.O. Payette, had retired as president of the company in 1949.
Bill said: "Andy carried on loyally for 35 years in the hardware department until he retired in 1982. Thank you Andy for being such a super guy."
All these years later, I am sure those of us who know Andy would second Bill's motion. Andy was a super guy. And I would just add that for years Andy sat on the board of St. John's Anglican Church, and was there on Sunday morning greeting parishioners as they arrived for services.
No matter the weather, citizens bundled up and headed uptown or overtown or across town, to the downtown, and the draws, serenaded along the way by music from the giant Christmas display at Dr. G.E. Young's clinic and building.
The  main store, for newcomers to Chapleau, is where Village Shops is now located. Collins Home Hardware occupies the expansion building.
Some time ago now Andre Renaud reminded me of the toy display downstairs at Smith and Chapple.  "I used to like going downstairs at Smith and Chapple's and look at the toy display..Also the train display they had there every Christmas.Nice place to duck into on the way to school when it was real cold..Warm up for a few minutes and keep going the rest of the way..LOL"

Andre attended the old Chapleau High School on Pine Street, and believe me it was real cold once you turned the corner onto Young Street and headed towards the river. No school buses or snow days back then!

 Ian Macdonald, now retired as professor and head of the department of architecture at the University of Manitoba, at one time had a connection to the Smith and Chapple train display, was also to provide details.

"My Dad looked after the Smith and Chapple hardware department including "toyland", Ian wrote. ". It was set up in the lower level at the east end of the building under the Grocery department. The toyland display always included two electric train layouts. One was an American Flyer and the other was a Lionel. 

"I had the nonsalaried assignment to oversee the operation of both of them which I gladly did. It was the only job I ever had at Smith and Chapple aside from occasionally delivering flyers."

Charlie Purich commented: "I used to love the train display in "Toyland" in the basement floor of S and C. at Christmas.Andy was always there.That place was magical.
According to Vince Crichton in his book 'Pioneering in Northern Ontario', T.A. Austin laid the foundation for the location of Smith and Chapple circa 1887. By 1914 it became known as Smith and Chapple Ltd. In 1930, Mr. Payette and Mr, Grout took over the store but did not change the name.  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kevin Walker shares "I'm so Chapleau" anecdotes for holiday season and Christmas

Kevin Walker returns with his very popular "I'm so Chapleau" anecdotes just in time for the holiday season and Christmas.
As many will recall, Kevin's earlier edition of Chapleau anecdotes went over real well, so in chatting with him recently, I asked if he may have a few suitable for the festive season. He did, and here are the results.
"I'm so Chapleau I can still hear the words GAME ON yelled out at the road hockey game at INGO's place! Great times on Boxing Day. We would all meet for food and drinks and of course Road Hockey. I can still feel the sting of the ball hitting my legs when I was in nets.. lol who else had Boxing Day blowouts?"

 "I'm so Chapleau and who can forget what to do with your old Christmas Trees? Yep drop em off at the Arena for the big bon fire to start the Chapleau Carnival! Does anyone still go out and get a real tree?"

"I'm so Chapleau who else remembers going downtown to see the Lighting of the Christmas Tree.. this still goes on right? Anyways it was and is a great way for the town to get together for a special time to talk and reunite with old friends and family!"

"I'm so Chapleau Christmas meant a time to spend with family and relatives.. We used to celebrate Christmas two or three times lol.. Once Christmas Eve then twice Christmas Day one at home and one at Aunt Joan's place.. great times had by all.."  (Kevin's Aunt Joan is Joan (Simard) MacGillivray)

I'm so Chapleau I still think of the car rides we used to take with the parents when we were kids to look at all the decorations around town.. it was always a great time... the town was always decorated to the hilt.. Who else used to do this?"

(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.)

"I'm so Chapleau that to me December 24th meant going to the Sportsman Hotel and getting reacquainted with Ex Chapleauites who had come home for the holidays!! Always a great time getting caught up with old friendships... Who else remembers this Christmas tradition?"

"I'm so Chapleau I love the small town Christmas hospitality... Many a time during the holidays I found myself walking home from who knows where and hearing music and seeing lights on... The best part is you could just walk up and knock on the door and be invited in for a drink or two lol... yep small town hospitality you can't beat it!!"

Kevin now lives in Crystal Beach on Lake Erie  but for 17 years he worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Chapleau as an incident commander, then on to Pickering for a while now at his present home.

His great passion has always been music, and he now spends considerable time writing and performing. He advised that in 1987 he appeared at the Chapleau Winter Carnival. For more on Kevin and his music, I highly recommend a visit to his web site: http://www.reverbnation.com/bloodshoteyez

Here is Kevin's wish for you: "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."

And the same to you Kevin! I would just add that when reading Kevin's "I'm so Chapleau" I think 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, and it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been fulfilled." 

HERE IS LINK TO KEVIN'S EARLIER I'M SO CHAPLEAU http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2014/07/kevin-walker-stirs-up-talk-and-brings.html

My email is mj.morris@live.ca Please feel free to send along your "I'm so Chapleau" for the holiday season and Christmas.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Richard 'Ben' Lacroix patented end to end rushes delighted Chapleau hockey fans

If you were an opposing player, (or even a goaltender), your best option was to get out of the way whenever Richard 'Ben' Lacroix let go one of his blasts during the years he played hockey in Chapleau.
Richard emerged as one of the players who defined hockey in the community for many years, starting about 1966 just after the Chapleau Memorial Community Arena got artificial ice. He played for the Chapleau Senior Bantams who won the Division B championship at a tournament in Lasarre. Quebec in the 1966-67 hockey season.
The Bantams, coached by David Mizuguchi and managed by David Futhey were part of a big year in the annals of Chapleau hockey history. In their first year of play in the International Junior B Hockey League the Junior B Huskies won the league and Northern Ontario Hockey Association titles.
However, it was in the 1967-1968 hockey season, the last for most of them as Bantams, including Richard,  that they really excelled. They were moved into Division A at the Lasarre tournament but won the title and they also won the Northern Ontario Playground Hockey Association (NOPHA)  'A' championship in the Bantam category with David Mizuguchi as manager, David Futhey as coach and Doug Prusky who was now overage as trainer.
Many of these players went on to play for the Junior B Huskies and later the Intermediate A Huskies in the Northland Intermediate Hockey League.
Keith 'Buddy' Swanson, who had founded the junior team with Lorne Riley and Tom Welch, also doubled as hockey writer for the Chapleau Sentinel.
In the 1970-71 season with Earle Freeborn as coach, Buddy wrote that the team was off to a fast start, and early in the season was in first place after defeating their arch rival Wawa Travellers 7-3 and 5-3 in weekend encounters.
Buddy noted that Richard had  "made one of his patented end to end rushes, passing to Ernie Chambers who scored and then followed up as he skidded a backhander the length of the ice to clinch things for Chapleau with 33 seconds left.
Richard's rushes and blasts were common during his junior and intermediate hockey years. At the end of the 1970-71 season, he had notched 44 goals and was named the team's top player among other awards. He was presented with the Molson Award by representative Ray Bradley, assisted by Jim Mair, then playing for the Vancouver Canucks.
Following his junior career, Richard Joined the intermediate Huskies, and was its first captain in the 1975-76 season. He was also named rookie of the year and won the leading scorer honours.
Richard had the distinction of scoring the third Chapleau  goal in the Mrs A.W.  Moore Arena in 1978 in an exhibition game against the Valley East Crusaders. John Tavella scored the first and Jamie Doyle the second. The Sentinel reported that Richard "put home one of his blasts." Assists went to Ron Larcher and Jacques Sylvestre.
From Bantam to Junior to Intermediate teams, Richard made a difference as a great team player and friend - and delighted Chapleau hockey fans too.
Let me share a personal anecdote about Richard. In 1970, I was in Lady Minto Hospital, and visitors other than family were not permitted for a time. Richard was one of my students at Chapleau High School.
One afternoon I looked up and there was Richard beside my bed, having snuck by those wonderful but very formidable nurses at the hospital. We had a great visit, and then off he went. He had made my day.
Richard 'Ben' Lacroix died In Wawa on November 14, 2014. Rest in peace Richard. You made a difference. 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