Tuesday, June 26, 2001
The Fort Qu' Appelle Times, Fort Qu' Appelle, Saskatchewan
Cupar salutes senior hockey


Back Row (L-R): N.J Rustin, E. Wilkinson, J.B. McConnell,
N. Holden, G.L. Gordon, Middle Row (L-R): L.N. Barlow,
Eddie Shore, A.L. Hastings, J. Mollard, A. Griffith.
Front Row (L-R) Aubrey Shore, H.L. Sellers, W. Rooke, J.Pechet

The community of Cupar celebrated more than nine decades of senior hockey with a massive reunion last weekend.

The site of what was once Cupar's hockey arena, now the
community's ball diamonds, will be known as the Shore Recreational Park, in honor of the family who brought hockey not only to Cupar but also the north-eastern United States.

The idea for honoring the Shore family came after Kevin Bonish and a few others started to plan the senior hockey reunion.

We've talked about this for quite some time," says Bonish, "mostly with players from the 1950s and 1960s."

"We've started talking hockey and the good old days and I said, I think you're ready for a reunion ..."

It's just a get-together for the guys," he adds. " I think it will mean more to them than it will to the younger guys, because the years
have gone by and I think a lot of them haven't seen their team-mates for quite a while."

And Bonish adds, they have a lot to celebrate.

"To my knowledge, we're one of the few communities who have had senior hockey every year since 1907."

Those who came to the reunion - some as far away as British Columbia and Minnesota - took part in socials or a golf tournament, while others visited the community's museum, where displays of old uniforms, old skates and old pictures brought back many memories.

During Saturday night's dinner and ceremonies, a dozen actual and replica jerseys of old Cupar teams - from the 1930s to the past season - adorned the stage. The replica jerseys were made by local residents, Bonish says, and will be donated to the museum.

Bonish, who played for the Canucks in the 1980's, knows the story
of Cupar senior hockey very well.

A Cupar senior hockey team first took to the ice on New Year's Day 1907 on a small, open-air rink. This was real "old-time" hockey, as teams were made up of seven players a side. If a player was injured, the opposition dropped a player and the game continued.

And those mandated to keeping Cubs going through thick and thin have had to call on all the community's resourses to keep going,

For example, Bonish says, teenage boys, too young to serve in the armed forces, played for the senior teams during the First World War. In 1915 that meant the Cupar team had room for two younger players: Aubrey Shore, the son the man build the built the Cupar arena, and Aubrey's little brother Eddie.

When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, senior hockey leagues suffered, and for many years the Canucks didn't have a league to play in, Bonish says.

"Organized hockey wasn't always league hockey. Some years there was only exhibition hockey against clubs from other towns in the area Lipton, Fort Qu' Appelle, Balcarres, Southey."

The Cupar teams - originally known as the Cubs, but they became
the Canucks in the 1960s - have outlasted the Last Mountain Hockey League (where they were league champions in the 1962-63 season) and the Right Angle Hockey League (where they won three championships in the 1960s and 1970s).

Today, they 're a force in the Highway Hockey League, where they won the league title in 1994-95 and 195-96.

The Cupar clubs have more than 20 titles or final playoffs throughout their existance, ranging form the Kirkella Branch Hockey League finals in their founding year to the Saskatchewan Hockey Association's Senior A Southern Championship this past season.


Back Row: (L-R) Owen Gillstrom, Ray Vermette, George Michael, Duke McEachern, Vic Kinnard, Jim Bzdel, Bill Findlay (Coach).
Front Row: (L-R) Carl Chwachka, Garry Nesbitt, Bob Turner, Jerry Deis, Don Shinske, Dwayne Ring, Wilfred Schulhauser.


Back Row: (L-R) Scott Blaser, Jason Swalm, Kevin Digney, Mark Perry, Brad Nameth, Chad Nameth, Keith Perry.
Middle Row: (L-R) Kelly Findling (exec.), Jordan Polasek, Jim Mclarty, Neil Schulhauser (coach), Blair Smotra, Nathan Fazakas, Neil Schell, Woody Blaser (manager).
Front Row: (L-R) Dennis Smotra (exec.), Patrick Harriman (exec.), Mark Rolfes, Malcolm Wolitski, Cory Haines, Danny Wagner, Chris Weitzel, Kevin Bonish (exec.), Rob Woolsey (exec.).

Right Column

Eddie Shore: the biggest, baddest Bruin of them all

With his voice breaking and his eyes filling with tears, Eddie Shore Jr. stood in front of 400 people at the Cupar Hall Saturday night and held up a copy of his family's most prized possessions: a photograph of his father, Eddie and uncle Aubrey.

They were together on the ice, in the Boston Bruins uniforms and on the ice of "The Gahhdens" as every New England hockey and basketball fan called the Bruins' home arena.

The old Boston Gardens is long gone. The Bruins play in a new state of the art facility that, when Eddie Jr. spits out the name, sounds like the worst swear word in the dictionary.

"They call it the Fleet Center."

On the other hand Eddie Jr. may have reason to hate the name of the Bruins' new home. The new stadium's naming rights were sold to one of the largest banks in Massachusetts. Big banks aren't very popular. The Fleet likes dealing with big businessess. They don't like dealing with small businesses. While the hockey club Shore owned was pretty big to the family, the Springfield Indians of the 1950s and1960s aren't like today's minor pro hockey teams.

Hockey today is big business. Skyboxes, tax concessions governments, revenue streams, seat licencing and we're not even talking about the eight-figure salaries as well as the other extras and goodies for the player.

Where would the grit and iron will of the old days fit in the polish an media charm of the new?

Eddie Shore Sr. in today's NHL? That would be as unimaginable as General Patton or General McArthur wandering loose in the Pentagon today. Or Eddie Rickenbacker, the Red Baron or Billy Bishop piloting the space shuttle. Or Ty Cobb out of the grave and into the batter's box.

Eddie Shore was a Cub before he was a Bruin.

He's Cupar's only contribution to the Hockey Hall of Fame. It's not for lack of trying, a lot of young boys play the sport on the Cuplex ice, and the community boasts nearly a century of senior hockey.

But not everyone had Shore's inner drive, a fierce competitiveness demanding victory at all costs.

Eddie Shore Sr. was born in 1902 in Fort Qu' Appelle. His father, T.J., owened and ran a six section farm just outside Cupar. And he was the one to call when the community decided to build its first indoor rink.

Cupar's love of senior hockey started New Year's Day, 1907, when the first team took to the ice on an outdoor 44' by 100' slab of ice, about half the size of today's standard ice sheet.

T.J. put up the $4000 needed to build the first indoor rink, and the arena opened Christmas Day, 1911.

Three years later, Canada followed the British Empire into the Great War. The men of the area, as the men did across the new country, flocked to recruiting stations, eager to don the uniform and to have a go at "The Hun."

With most of the area's men in the army, Eddie and older brother Aubrey suited up for the Cupar Cubs senior team. Truth be told, the old timers said, Eddie wasn't a very good hockey player, not like Aubrey. Eddie wasn' t much of a skater, actually he never was that good of a skater even when he played with the Bruins. Aubrey's relentless taunting, apparently, reminded Eddie just how bad he was everytime he took to the ice.

But ....

"My father was one of those kind of people, if you told him he couldn't do it, couldn't play hockey, couldn't climb that building, you told the wrong guy." says his son. "Even if it was just to show you up."

And if Aubrey or any of the other locals who said he couldn't be a hockey player or be a success in life, like the teachers who kept expelling him from school, Eddie would show them.

Where did that incredible drive come from?

"Honestly, I don't know," Shore Jr. adds.

Shore, a defenseman, was the nearly self-taught star of a Cupar Cubs team which battled for provincial titles from 1919 to 1923.

In 1924, Eddie was invited to join the Melville Millionaires senior hockey club, and the team found a job for him, as a fireman in the Canadian National Railway yards.

Aubrey, meanwhile, stayed in Cupar. He got a couple of offers. The Bruins even gave him a tryout. But Aubrey wasn't Eddie.

The locals said he was better player than Eddie, but he never had Eddies' drive to win. Other said Aubrey's alcoholism did in his hockey career.

Click here for continuation of story


The Hockey Hall of Fame did it in 1947.

American hockey officials did it in 1970.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame did it in 1990.

And Saturday night, the community of Cupar gave the original "Big Bad Bruin" his due.

As family members stood on stage at the Cupar Hall and a crowd of 400 watched, Mayor Steve Boha and the surviving relatives of legendary Boston Bruins defenseman Eddie Shore unveiled a replica of a plaque that will honor the Shore family's contribrutions to the community. "This is one of the greatest honors a family could ever get," said Eddie Shore Jr. "To have a park named after you, where you grew up ...it's just fantastic."

The site of Cupar's first arena will now be known as the Shore Recreational Park. A permanent sign is to be installed on the grounds later this summer.

The community's ball diamonds now occupy the site of Cupar's first enclosed hockey rink, originally built in 1911. Eddie Shore's father T.J. Shore, financed the arena's $4000 cost.

Eddie Shore, with his brother Aubrey, played for the Cupar Cubs senior hockey team from 1915 to 1923. Eddie Shore later moved upwards in hockey circles, before playing 15 years for the Boston Bruins.

Just before retiring from the National Hockey League in 1939, Shore purchased the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians and ran the club until 1976.

The arena was the home to hockey and other skating activities in Cupar until the mid 1950s, when a new arena was built. In turn, it was replaced with the Cuplex in 1990.

Continued next column >


EDDIE SHORE JR. takes a look at the sign which will grace the Cupar ball diamonds in honor of the Shore family. The ball diamonds are located where, more than 70 years ago, Eddie Shore started his hockey career with the Cupar Cubs.

The honor to the Shore family climaxed a day of celebrations and remembrances for anyone who laced up skates and donned pads for Cupar's hockey teams throughout nine decades.

More than 250 former players from Cupar's senior hockey teams came back to the community for the reunion.

It's not the first time the legendary hard-nosed Boston Bruin was saluted this year. In its series to honor Hockey Hall of Fame inductees this year, Canada Post unveiled a stamp with Shore's image on the cover.

Shore was one of the first people inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. He was awarded the Lestor Patrick Trophy in 1970 for his service to hockey in the United States.

Shore was also inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Eddie Shore Jr., who followed in his father foot-steps in hockey administration with the Indians, says he has fond memories of his famous dad.

"I had a great time growing up. My father was real good to me," he says. "But he wanted me to be the best I could be. He pushed me to that. In hockey, or business, he wanted that from me, as he wanted that from everybody he hired."

Shore Jr. also had high praise for the way the Cupar community has honored hockey in general and his father's memory in particular. Several artifacts and photographs from his father's career in Cupar are on display in the community's museum.

"It was awesome ... not just the hockey things but the farm things and the Masonic things and the military things ... talking to a couple of the guides was very, very intertaining."

Though retired form the working world, Eddie Shore Jr. keeps verry busy. A former president of the Shriners fraternal organization in western Massachusetts, he sits on the board of directors for the Shriners' Hospital in Springfield, Mass.