EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Monday, December 21, 2015

Ron McFarland hosts Christmas breakfast party for Friday Morning Coffee Club

Host Ron
Friday Morning Coffee Club held its second Christmas Party at the home of Ron and Judy McFarland where a delicious breakfast was served to those members who were able to attend.

Ron, as always, was a most gracious host, and a most sincere thank you to Ron and Judy for having us over to enjoy a hearty breakfast and a great time.

David, Ed, Antoine

 We enjoyed good fellowship, more than a few laughs, and time with friends on a Friday morning as the Christmas season got underway.
Jim relaxing

 Some members were unable to attend because of other commitments, including travel to warmer climes.
Joe listening carefully

Bill (centre) is sharing a story while Terry and Michael look on

Joel also attended but was official photographer so we didn't get photo of him so decided to use one from his recent appearance at College of the Rockies with Duffy where they attended a Christmas party.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dakotah Woods of Quebec Remparts wins 2015 annual Buckwheat Award

Dakotah Woods, from Chapleau, who is playing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is the winner of the 2015 annual Buckwheat Award.

Dakotah, 17,  who now lives in North Bay, the son of Isabelle (Saunders) and Gordon Woods, had the two most popular stories on The Michael J Morris Report, making him the award winner. He is also a member of Brunswick House First Nation.

He started his hockey career in Chapleau and before joining the Remparts, he played for the Elliot Lake Wildcats of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The Buckwheat Award is named after my beloved cat who died in 2009, shortly after I had started the blog.  Previous winners include Harry Pellow, Michael McMullen, Ian Macdonald, John Theriault, Larry Martel and Kevin Walker.

Congratulations Dakotah, and thanks for your cooperation --- and to your Dad too!!

Here are links:





Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chapleau in 1950 completing memorial arena to replace 'old rink' as Christmas arrives

As Christmas 1950 arrived, the major immediate challenge facing the community was to complete the Chapleau Memorial Arena, which was under construction replacing the "old rink" which had been located on the same site on Lorne Street across from the CPR Shops, according to the Chapleau Post.

However, the newspaper also contained other news, and after browsing through a digital copy of the December 21, 1950 edition provided to me by Doug Greig,  I decided to share some highlights. It brought back fond memories --- I was nine years old at the time. Seems like only yesterday.

Arthur Simpson was publisher and editor and Wilf Simpson, his son, was assistant editor.

To ensure the completion of the new arena, 20 local businessmen each pledged $300 to enable final material to be purchased. An  "all out" fundraising drive was being undertaken and Ross Thornton, pharmacist and proprietor of the Model Drug Store said "$1000 could be raised on Main Street alone."

It happened and the offical opening took place on February 3, 1951, and in a later edition, the Chapleau Post reported that 2,200 people attended it, cheering when Reeve B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt crowned Betty Ann Payette, as Queen. That crowd may have been the largest ever in that arena, although some hockey games may have come close.

Other contestants included Olive Collings, Pearl Marchessault, Mary Bignucolo, Gloria Warren, Dorothy Bain, Jean Doyle and Juliette Morin.

The newspaper also reported that the Canadian Pacific Railway had agreed to supply the steam to heat the dressing rooms and lobby in the new arena. It was described as a "handsome donation" which was most appreciated as a "generous gesture" in support of the community.
Chapleau bit later than 1950 but good shot

As a matter of historical interest, the memorial arena was officially opened almost 50 years to the day from when Chapleau was incorporated as a municipality on February 1, 1901.

Meanwhile, during the week before Christmas, the Smith and Chapple choir was performing daily at one p.m. for 15 minutes singing Christmas carols. The daily concert was piped onto Main Street through speakers.

Santa Claus had also  made  a visit and 600 children met him at the Town Hall. Santa arrived at the forestry point and crowds cheered as he made his way to the Town Hall. His visit was sponsored by Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion.

In other news, the municipality had been advised on December 20 from the Department of Highways that the Chapleau-Thessalon highway had been designated a "King's Highway" (129) and would be maintained by the provincial government. The highway was completed in 1949.

Wilf Simpson's Orchestra would be playing for a Christmas Night dance at the Legion Hall, while a "Monster" Moccasin Dance would be held on the ice at the curling rink on December 27. I had forgotten how popular dances on the ice and on the street were in the winter months.

Fire Chief George Collinson issued a warning about the dangers of Christmas tree fires.

Harold Kennedy had arrived as the new Ontario Provincial Police At the time it was a one officer detachment while the Chapleau police force consisted of the Chief and a part-time night constable.

Rev. H.W. Strapp of Trinity United Church; Father Romeo Gascon of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, and Rev. E. Roy Haddon, of St. John's Anglican Church, all provided Christmas messages.

In the recent municipal election, Mr. Zufelt had been returned for another term as reeve, while councillors were Ernie Lepine, George Young, J.M. Shoup and Arthur Grout.

I extend my most sincere best wishes to all readers for Christmas and the holiday season. Thanks to all, who in any way assisted me with Chapleau Moments during 2015. Very much appreciated. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hockey Keeps Canada Together

I took a course in twentieth century European history from Dr Jacques Goutor, back in the 1960s 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.

NOTE: "Hockey Keeps Canada Together" was one of my first posts on Michael J Morris Report after I founded it seven years ago

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 to be the last time the Leafs would win Lord Stanley's mug.

Dr Jacques Goutor
All so typically Canadian for our Centennial year -- 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 contributes 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. But they know their audience. Hockey keeps it all together in this vast and magnificent land where we will travel great distances for a hockey game, and complain about that other great Canadian unifier, the weather.

MJM in 1978 at Chapleau Carnival
Tee Chambers, Butch Pellow, Aldee Martel, circa 1954
Our passion for hockey of course begins at the local level. I was raised in the northern Ontario town of Chapleau, where the Chapleau Huskies, in various incarnations were  the pride and joy for much longer than I have been around. Growing up there in the 1940s and 50s my hockey heroes were local, especially the late Garth ''Tee" Chambers, who to this day I believe was better than any NHL player who ever donned skates.

When I returned to Chapleau to teach, shortly thereafter I was "hired' by the 1970-71 Midgets to coach them. Yes, they actually "fired" their coach and I took over, and that is a story in itself. At that time though, the focus was on the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies who played in a Junior league, and in 1967 won the league title, as well as NOHA title.

Chapleau Jr B Huskies 1966-67
 The coaches of the day were the late Keith 'Buddy' Swanson, Lorne Riley, who had been an outstanding goalie and Earle Freeborn, one real tough defenceman in his playing days who also served as the Mayor of Chapleau. Saturday nights were hockey night in Chapleau, and the great community unifier, especially when the Wawa Travellers were in town.

A few years later, again after receiving a visit from hockey players, the Chapleau Intermediate "A" Huskies were born and our arch rivals in the Northland Intermediate Hockey league were the Timmins Northstars. For three years it was a struggle to beat them in the league semi-finals but in our fourth year we did, and it was like we had won the Stanley Cup. We won in Timmins but soon received reports that back in Chapleau, the celebration had begun with horns honking and a party underway.

And so, from local unheated hockey rinks, many of them called barns, where rivalries among communities bring people together to cheer on their own team, to national and international championship series, Dr Goutor was right. It is a safe country in which to live

I welcome your comments. Please feel free to add them or email me at mj.morris@live.com

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tense moments' at Chapleau Curling Club in 1969 but students win Scott Thomson Memorial Trophy in men's bonspiel

Jim Lapp, James Crichton, Norman Creighton, Bruce Pellow
There were many "tense moments" at the Chapleau Curling club in 1969 as 30 rinks competed for the Scott Thomson Memorial Trophy, the Sudbury Star reported.

Rinks  participating included Chapleau, Toronto, Mactier, Thessalon, White River and Pineal Lake.

However, it was not "seasoned curlers" who emerged victorious at the end of the annual three day men's bonspiel, taking the trophy and first event.

The rink skipped by James Crichton with Norman Creighton, Jim Lapp and Bruce Pellow, all former Chapleau High School students, who were currently attending post secondary institutions out of town, had come home for the bonspiel and won it.

Just recently Jim Lapp commented on Facebook that he had spent many hours curling after school at the rink then located on Pine Street.  

Curling was a very popular sport for students at Chapleau High School for many years.

It wasn't all curling though as the Star reported that a dinner was held at the Legion Hall on Saturday night and "lively entertainment" was provided in the club room on Friday and Saturday nights with dancing to the music of the Rhythmaires, a popular orchestra of the day. 

The curling rink had undergone major renovations, especially to the club rooms in 1960 when George Collins was  president and Keith Scott, vice president.

Curling was introduced in Chapleau during the winter of 1885 just as the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived and the community was being established. There was apparently one sheet of ice on an open air rink on and empty lot on Lorne Street across from where the liquor store is now located.

The winning rinks in the 1969 bonspiel sure reads like a a "Who's Who" of men's curling in Chapleau and area from over 50 years ago. 

Here are the winners as reported by the Sudbury Star.

Runners up in the first event were Keith Scott (skip), C.R. Groves, William Payette and Robert Harrison. In third place was Harvey Fortunato (skip), John Morin, Peter Bernier and Lou Lingenfelter. In fourth was Dennis Tieman (skip) E. Pozzo, P. Bird, and Naddo  Bracci of White River.

Second event winner of the Cochrane-Dunlop Trophy was J.G. 'Jiggs' Goldstein (skip), Ovide Cote, Guy McCrea and Jerry Henderson. Runners up were Paul Secker (skip), Con Schmidt, Billy Bromley and Ed Sutherland. Third was Toddy Collinson (skip), William McLeod, Don Ferguson and George Mayotte.

Third event winners for the Charles W. Collins Trophy were Richard Hoath (skip), Peter Blackburn, Louis Cappellani and James Gemmell. In second place was Ovila Desbois (skip), Aubrey Slievert, Milton Vaillancourt and Mayrice Bouchard, of Pineal Lake. In third place was Charles Law (skip), George Elliott, Robert Bromley and Peter Witherspoon.

The Chapleau Public Library recently added eight new sections depicting various aspects of life in Chapleau. Curling is one of them. They are all most interesting and I suggest you take a look. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lorne Riley Jr of Chapleau makes international news when his band Mileage 51 releases new album 'Stone Unturned'

Chapleau's own Lorne Riley Jr. made international news recently when his band Mileage 51 released its new album "Stone Unturned" across the United Kingdom, as well as on Facebook.

Mileage 51 is a Dubai-based band proudly rooted in the rock and blues stylings from the US the and UK. In their debut album, Stone Unturned, the expat foursome presents a collection of original songs that echo the classic retro sounds which form the bedrock of today’s music. Stone Unturned proudly trots out the past with a refreshingly genuine take on music from days gone by but never forgotten.

Lorne, the son of Jackie and the late Lorne Riley, who now lives in Dubai and works at the world's largest international airport as Director of Corporate Communications. is the lead singer for  Mileage 51's new single 'Retroman'.

It  was featured on UK's Discover Music Show which features new, rising stars. In his radio interview, Lorne fondly recalls early musical memories in Chapleau. 

I connected with Lorne a graduate of Chapleau High School who also has an Honours Degree in Journalism from Carleton University. and asked him about his new venture and how his time in Chapleau influenced his music.

"I may live in a big city, but I'm a small town guy at heart. And our music reflects that. My interest in music started in my late teens in Chapleau with two local blues/rock bands "People People" and "The Horses". Ken Lane, Bucko Laframboise, Murray Midkiff and Hugh McGoldrick, all talented musicians in their own right, showed me how rewarding and fun performing can be. 

"Now let's be clear I'm no international rock star, not by a long stretch! We're just a group of guys who love music and wanted to write and produce our own album. Now that we have done that, we're trying to share it with as many people as possible."

Lorne sent me the interview he did on the Discover Music Show and had to smile when the interviewer started with questions about cold weather in Canada and Lorne sure made his home  look good. in his comments. I was also so impressed with 'Retroman." You can access the entire interview through http://mileage51.com or on the group's Facebook page.

While attending Carleton University in the 1980s, Lorne performed with a three piece rock group called 'Blue Cotton Seals Band'.

After connecting with Lorne, of course I recalled that his father with Keith 'Buddy' Swanson and Tom Welch founded the Chapleau Junior "B" Huskies who won their league and NOHA championships in 1966-67 their first year of operation. But Lorne Jr also played on a championship hockey team. The Chapleau Midget "C" Huskies won the NOHA title in 1979 but declared themselves all Ontario champions because there were no Midget "C" teams in southern Ontario.

Mileage 51 is signed with Matchbox in the UK and has inked a distribution deal with Universal Music Operations. The album is available on iTunes, Spotify and via their website at http://mileage51 and more information is available their Facebook page.

Congratulations Lorne and all the best. Thanks for your co-operation. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Chapleau Midget "C" NOHA  Champions 1979. Back row from left: Martin Healey, Shane Gillham, Tim Morin, John Bernier, Robert Serre, Dan Tebbutt, Michael Tremblay, Paul Legros, Geoffrey Hong, Michael Payette, Mike Tangie. Front from left: Marc Trottier, David Freeborn, Yves Gervais, Lorne Riley, Randy Carroll, Gary Chambers, Shawn Russell. Absent coach Jamie Doyle


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Letters to Santa Claus from 1940s to recent photos bring back fond memories of growing up in Chapleau

Dr G E Young old house At Christmas
When we were kids growing up in Chapleau in the 1940s, after World War II, Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion, sponsored the annual Santa Claus visit and Parade each year.

Ted Soucie, a World War II veteran, and Legion member, was responsible for a column in the Chapleau Post, where we, me included, would send letters to Santa.

In his column, Mr. Soucie would also include updates on Santa, such as this one in November 1949 advising that Santa had written him, advising that his plane was now ski equipped, and the ice was forming "nice and thick" on the river at Chapleau where he would land. His sleigh and the reindeer would be waiting.

Before I go any further with this, I have just seen some photos on Facebook of Santa's 2015 Chapleau visit, and congratulations to all on making it a huge success.

As I was browsing through digital versions of the Chapleau Post kindly provided to me by Doug Greig, I realized that I had recent photos of some of those who had written letters in the late 1940s, and I had visited with them during the past three years --- some at the 90th anniversary reunion  of Chapleau High School in 2012, others at that great party at the home at the home of Butch and Brigitte Pellow in Toronto in 2014. I saw others when I was home in the Summer to launch "The Chapleau Boys Go To War" with my co-author and cousin Michael McMullen.

Such fond memories of growing up Chapleau!

And yes. some were there for all three occasions, again proving the maxim that you can take folks out of Chapleau, but you can't take Chapleau out of us.

Anyway, I decided to do that was then with a few of the Santa Claus letters from our growing up days in Chapleau, to photos of this is now with some of the same people taken in the past three years. So here goes.

"Dear Old Santa: You will soon be here now. So long since I saw you. Wish you would bring me a sewing machine, a sweet grass sewing basket, printing sets, story books and a game. Thanks a lot." -- Doreen Cormier
Ian, Jim, Ann, Doreen (2014 at Harry/Brigitte party

"I would like two Gene Autry guns. I would like 5 and a half foot skis and a Dale Sleigh. I would like a standard size ukulele and a hockey game, pool table, hockey stick and puck and a Pedro Target game."  -- Bill Cachagee

(Bill Cachagee and Doreen Cormier later married and now make their home at Fox Lake First Nations Reserve)
Bill and Butch

"So glad you are visiting again. I am writing a letter for my baby sister, my twin brother and sister and myself. Patsy my baby sister wants a new doll, also Bunny slippers. My brother wants a  model builder and fire truck. My sister wants a doll house and furniture. I would like boots or skates, a sewing kit, also Chinese checkers."  -- Ann Keays

(Ann Keays and Jim Machan married. I could not find letter from Jim to Santa. They attended the CHS reunion in 2012 and the Toronto party.)  

"I would like a two wheeled bicycle but my Mother and Daddy think I am too small yet." -- Ken Schroeder

(Ken and family members spend part of each Summer at Chapleau where they have a cottage)
Ken and Elsie (Collings) Pellow 2012 CHS reunion

"I am glad you are coming to Chapleau again this year. Would you please bring me a Fleetwing sleigh, carpenter set, blackboard, and a Lone Rider cowboy outfit with gun." -- Bruce Poynter

(Bruce spends Summers at Mulligan's Bay)
MJM with Bruce 2015

"Will you please bring me a Barbara Ann Scott doll, and a Bubble set. also some books and crayons.Bring Georgie a horse and Teddy a duck on wheels."  -- Sharon Swanson

(George and Ted are Sharon's brothers. Sharon lives in Chapleau)
Sharon with MJM and Mike McMullen

And finally, my letter, " I am very glad you are coming back to Chapleau. I would like a pair of skates and a pair of binoculars."

I am the guy from Chapleau, who lives in Cranbrook BC but writes weekly about "that place' in Ontario, and loves going back and forth to Orlando, Florida.

 I did not find letters to Santa from Ian Macdonald and Harry Pellow but  left them in the photos because they are still so interested in the community. Michael McMullen is too but moved there in the early 1950s. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pat Purich Russell shares photos from Chapleau Remembrance Day service

Pat Purich Russell kindly shared photos from the Remembrance Day Service conducted by Branch No 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion on November 11 in Chapleau.

The wreaths lined up ready to be  placed at the cenotaph beside the Legion Hall

Pat commented ."Unreal how the weather was so perfect for the service,.. huge crowd, beautiful blue skies. the Canadian flag blowing in the breeze up against the gorgeous blue sky."

Lest We Forget over the front door of the Legion Hall

Part of Young Street is now called "Veterans Way" Pat explained that her husband Ken Russell, a veteran and former reeve of Chapleau played a major role in renaming the section of the street to honour all veterans.

Pat also provided this beautiful poppy photo. Thanks for sharing Pat.

"Mustard seeds planted in fertile soil" marked beginning of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Chapleau

Father Romeo Gascon, who was mainly responsible for building the present Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, provided an account  of the project after the  church was destroyed by fire on December 18, 1918.

The first Roman Catholic church in Chapleau was located where Collins furniture store is now. In 1891, a Father Grenier arrived and under his guidance a larger church was started at its present location, 

Father Gascon noted in his article contained in the Richard Brownlee papers. Father Gascon was priest in Chapleau from 1911 to 1958 when he died.

Prior to the building of the first church, Father Gascon wrote that Mass and the administration of the Sacraments were conducted in construction camps and private houses. "Great and numerous were the hardships of those first missionaries who had to minister to the few faithful scattered over a large territory,"
Roman Catholic Separate School

It was under the ministry of a Father Proulx that the priest's house was built around 1906 as well as the separate school. In 1925 the Sisters of St. Mary built the convent.
Priest's house, back of church and steeple at United Church

Disaster struck when the church became "the prey of fire" and the "church, and its contents, rich statuary and costly Mass vestments, tribute to the zealous work of the early missionaries and the generosity of the faithful pioneers" were lost."

"In a few hours nothing was left of the work and generosity of thirty years," Father Gascon wrote. "It cast a gloom over the joyous feast of Christmas.."

However, this was of short duration. "Immediately the Catholic people with their pastor pledged themselves to rebuild on a larger scale, to put up a Church which would be a credit and proof of their unfeigned faith and generosity.

"And this was accomplished. The following Christmas, Midnight Mass was sung for the first time in the new church."

Father Gascon sketched out the design for the new church and supervised the construction.

Alfred Leclerc, who arrived in Chapleau in 1915, in an article prepared for the church's 100th anniversary, said he had helped built it. He also was actively involved in other ways over many years.
Georgina and Alfred Leclerc

Writing his account in December 1932, just before Christmas,  Father  Gascon added that since the new church was opened, almost every year something is done to  "beautify the church so today it  stands as one of the nicest churches in the district."

In his conclusion, which he then signed "Romeo Gascon" he noted that the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church in Chapleau were modest but were "mustard seed sown in fertile soil.

"Through the zeal, sacrifice and energy of these first missionaries and pioneer settlers this tiny seed has germinated and grown up to be a large tree.  Its branches and leaves now throw a refreshing shade."

He invited the people to the church to rest and regain lost strength. Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church will celebrate its 96th anniversary in the "new" church this year at Christmas.

I extend my thanks again to Margaret Rose and Bobby Fortin for loaning me the Richard Brownlee papers.  My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Friday, November 6, 2015

Priceless hockey moments in Chapleau provided by Charlie Purich

Knowing that I would be in Florida when my Chapleau Moments deadline approached, I decided to do hockey and contacted Charlie Purich for some hockey memories.

I also have heard from Jennifer Harvey-Cyr telling me about the recent Chapleau Atom champions, so as hockey season gets underway, I wanted to encourage everyone to go to the arena and show support. 

Having coached Midget and Intermediate hockey in Chapleau, I know the great feeling when there were big crowds on hand, and also disappointment when we had to play in a largely empty arena.

When Charlie played hockey in Chapleau, he was known as "the catalyst" of the Chapleau High School hockey team in the 1960s when Dr Karl A Hackstetter was the school's principal.

Charlie went on to play at Laurentian University, and has been playing ever since. And, he continues to be interested in Chapleau. Here are some of his memories. I have made some comments in  brackets.
Charlie circa 1964

"Defeating Terrace Bay on their ice to win the North Shore trophy in the second game of a two,game total goal series. Tied 9-9 in Chapleau. Won next game  9-8 after being down 8-4 on their ice, with 12 minutes to play."
"The many games vs Wawa. Fans loved the action. At times, brutal games so good skating trumped the nastiness. Playing in Wawa could be intimidating."
Junior B Reunion
"A particular game in Blind River where Eddy Bignucolo stopped 54,shots. I think it was a tie. I was playing for Laurentian and drove over to join the team. (Eddy's brothers Albert and Ernest (Sonny) were also great Chapleau golatenders. Sonny was killed while on active service in Canada's armed forces and his friends donated a trophy in his memory. It was played for at winter carnivals).

 "As a kid, watching the Huskies skate onto the ice during the Winter Carnival.Recall one time when a bagpiper led the team around the rink in the pre game. Earle Freeborn led the players. A vision locked in my head - every young hockey player couldn't wait to play for the Intermediate club." (I am older than Charlie and I too recall the thrill of watching the Intermediates skate onto the ice going back to just after World War II in the old old rink.
The late Garth 'Tee' Chambers was my hockey hero and still is).
 "Leading 3-2 in a game in town. I had the puck and was skating down the ice and turned to skate back to,our end.Method in my madness was to kill time. Buddy later asked me what ta hell I was doing. Earle (Freeborn) and I laugh about that to this day." (Buddy of course is the late Keith J 'Buddy' Swanson, hockey coach extraordinaire who with Lorne Riley and Tom Welch founded the Chapleau Junior 'B' Huskies)
Junior/Intermediat Reunion 2001
"A scene in the Sudbury Arena one weekend. Looked up into the stands to see Earle and Buddy sitting there.. Big thrill just to see them. (Charlie was playing for Laurentian)

And this one: "Being so proud to have played hockey in my hometown of Chapleau-Priceless!"

My sincere thanks to Charlie for taking time to provide some memories and to Jennifer for contacting me. I hope all will support minor hockey. Charlie I am sure speaks for all of us who played and/or were involved in hockey  --- PRICELESS!!!  Maybe time for a reunion!

Note: I didn't have all the names for the reunion photos so hope you know them all... That happens when I am travelling and forget to get names. I will add them when I get home/
My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Remembrance Day in Chapleau 'fittingly and solemnly' observed in 1950 but sacrifices made for freedom remembered every day

Remembrance Day was "fittingly and solemnly" observed by veterans of World War I and World War II, as well as citizens of Chapleau in 1950, according to the Chapleau Post.

The newspaper reported that attendance at the service in the Town Hall, followed by the laying of wreaths and poppies at the cenotaph, which at the time was located beside it, was the largest in many years. It also marked the largest attendance by veterans on record.

World War I and World War II veterans paraded from the Royal Canadian Legion Hall to the Town Hall. The auditorium was filled to capacity for the service conducted by Rev. H.W. Strapp, Minister at Trinity United Church and Rev. E. Roy Haddon, Rector of St. John's Anglican Church,.
Rev E Roy Haddon

Mr. Haddon, who had served in the British Army in World War II was the padre to Branch Number 5 (Ontario) of the Royal Canadian Legion.

In his remarks, Mr. Haddon said that although one day a year is set aside for Remembrance Day, "the sacrifices made for freedom will always be remembered every day."

He added that the principles for which so many gave their lives in both wars to ensure "freedom of speech and worship were not bought cheaply and that should be remembered each time we look at the cenotaph the memorial to those who bought freedom for us."

(In our book, The Chapleau Boys Go To War, Michael McMullen and I note that in World War I from 1914 to 1918, there were 283 volunteers with a Chapleau connection -- 282 men and one woman. We also record that 32 Chapleau boys died in World War I.  In World War II, from 1939 to 1945, our research identified 416 who enlisted, with a Chapleau connection  -- at least 30 were women. There were 29 Chapleau boys, either killed in action or died due to war-related causes.)

Given the size of the community, Chapleau made a significant contribution to the country's armed forces in both wars.

Following the service in the Town Hall, everyone moved outside to the cenotaph for the laying of wreaths and poppies. Each veteran paid tribute their fallen comrades by placing a poppy and saluting in front of the cenotaph.

In the afternoon, the veterans gathered privately in the Legion Hall and later in the day a banquet was held. Once again, Mr. Haddon and Mr. Strapp were speakers, and were joined by Reeve B.W. 'Bubs' Zufelt, of the Township of Chapleau.
Reeve B. W. Zufelt

At the time the Legion Hall was still officially owned by the municipality, but working with Mr. Zufelt, by 1955, ownership was transferred to Branch Number 5. For his efforts, Mr. Zufelt was honoured with a Life Membership in the Legion.

In 1950. D.T. 'Toddy' Collinson, a veteran of World War I, was president of Branch Number 5. His father, George Collinson, a veteran of World War I, was a charter member of the branch. 

Mrs. Agnes Freeborn, was president of the Ladies Auxiliary. Her husband, Earle Freeborn. served in World War I, and was also a reeve of Chapleau.

The cenotaph was moved in 1978 from beside the Town Hall to beside the Legion Hall

From 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."  

Thanks to Doug Greig for the Chapleau Post. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Saturday, October 24, 2015

John Tavella always 'on the mark' with super performances from 'great hockey player and friend'

John Tavella gave a "super performance" in two games as the Chapleau Intermediate 'A' Huskies opened their fourth season in the Northland Intermediate Hockey League, playing in the new Mrs. A.W. Moore Arena in the Chapleau Recreation Centre. John gave many of those performances in his hockey career.

John, a 1976 draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League , had set an Ontario Hockey League record for most points by a rookie in the 1975-76 season while playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds with 64 goals and 67 assists. His record was broken by an up and coming hockey star by the name of Wayne Gretzky.

The OHL also named John Rookie of the Year in the 1975-76 season. In 1976 he was also drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, then of the World Hockey Association. In the 1974-75 season, John played for the Windsor Spitfites then of the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

From Wawa, where he played minor hockey, after being drafted by the Canadiens, he chose not to join one of the club's farm teams, and returned home, and married the love of his life Debbie.

That's where he was in the 1977-78 season  when the Huskies needed to strengthen their lineup. Doug Prusky had succeeded me as coach, and I was the manager. Michael 'Pat' Swanson, another great player, who was also our "chief scout", told us about John.

I phoned him and then drove over to Wawa to meet with John and Debbie. He agreed to join us and played part of the 1977-78 season.

John joined the Huskies full time for the 78-79 season, making the commute from Wawa with his friend John Simon, who had also played for the Sault Greyhounds.

Fast forward to opening weekend for the Huskies as they inaugurated the Moore Arena in the recreation centre which had been officially opened in June 1978.

Playing the first of two exhibition games against the Valley East Crusaders the newest entry in the NIHL, John had the distinction of scoring the first goal in the new arena at 17:10 of the first period, assisted by Pat Swanson.

He notched another goal in the Huskies 6-4 win  and then in the second game added two more in the home team's  5-4 victory.

The Chapleau Sentinel described it as a "super performance".

Just for the history record, veteran referee Jim Hong handled both games, keeping them both under control, and handing out only minor penalties.

I came to know John well over the season, and he often ate at my place, usually with most of the team there for a pre-game meal. Often we would have lasagna, and John, a good boy from an Italian- Canadian family once complimented me on it. I took it as high praise coming from him, and have to admit I have told folks over the years how great my lasagna is -- based on John's comment.

No question that John was a hockey star wherever he played, but more importantly, he was a "star" as a friend to everyone who knew him.

After learning that John had died at age 59 in Wawa, on October 21, I posted the news on Facebook. Let me share some of the comments about John as hockey player and friend, all from Chapleau people who knew him:

"Great hockey player and friend"; Great hockey player and wonderful man and father"; "Outstanding hockey player and family friend";  "Awesome hockey player with friendly and outgoing personality",  "Great sports person on and off  the ice. Gentleman hockey player.."and so it went with over 50 comments when last I looked. 

Mark Dillon, a pretty good player in his own right in Chapleau minor hockey  in the 1980s was in touch: "It was sure exciting to watch John play for the Chapleau Huskies".

Mark also shared the following anecdote in which John shot the puck "on the mark". LOL

"One moment I clearly remember was during a warmup. He stayed on the ice for  a bit messing around with a puck and you stood at the door nearest the home dressing room looking at him as if to come off the ice and he let a little slapper go towards you from the other blue line and you had to dodge the puck as his shot was on the mark and passed through the open door. Great times growing up in Chapleau."

One of my former students from Chapleau High School once told  me "I did hockey". That's true to a great extent as I reflect on it all these past couple of days. And, I'm so glad I did, having had the privilege of meeting players, and making friends with people like John Tavella during those years. 

I extend my most sincere sympathy to Debbie and John's family and all his friends. May  he rest in peace. 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