By Uncle Skeppy
Watching the Penguin's Sidney Crosby score another amazing goal the other night, evoked memories, not of Sid so much, but rather a forward line with as much flash and dash as any in the annals of Hockey. These three guys would create a crescendo of cheering and yelling as they stick-handled, passed and scored the "clutch" goal for another team victory.
Old time hockey gloves. photo: Lisa Ovens
You have probably never heard of them, unless your in your Sixties, lived in a small Ontario town and grew up lugging your duffle bag to the local ice-box. And by golly, it was an ice-box. No heaters in the old Port Colborne Arena on the shores of Lake Erie. No sir; which wasn't a bad thing for the kids who played hockey. The layers of clothing helped on the ice too, when one of those over-grown six foot defensemen whammed you into the boards.
But this old arena, with its steel girders blocking your view if you couldn't get a better seat, hosted some of the best hockey ever played.
There were only six NHL teams at the time and the caliber of players in our Senior and Intermediate teams was exceptional. So many of the NHL wannabees played in the AHL or senior teams on this side of the border, so we got to see some of the best action at the lowest price.
Speaking of the cost of a ticket, one of the off-ice challenges in those days was to be able to secure a pair of tickets to a Maple Leafs Game...90 miles down the highway. Many of our juvenile hockey peers did so: the tickets were the prize in a local Billiards room draw once a week !
But we digress... the memories we refer to at the beginning of this article are reserved for the Port Colborne Sailors Line of Mahoney, Katzman and Spence. The way this trio performed on the ice was an inspiration to all who saw them ...including many of the kids in the Bantam, Midget and Juvenile leagues throughout the area.
This is one example and there are thousands more across this great country, of why we develop the
best hockey players in the world.