salutes senior hockey
CUBS OF THE 1920S
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."
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
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
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
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
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
CUPAR CUBS OF THE 1950S
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.
CUPAR CANUCKS OF THE 1990S
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
Shore: the biggest, baddest Bruin of them all
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.
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.
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.
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.
put up the $4000 needed to build the first indoor rink,
and the arena opened Christmas Day, 1911.
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."
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.
"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
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
did that incredible drive come from?
I don't know," Shore Jr. adds.
a defenseman, was the nearly self-taught star of a Cupar
Cubs team which battled for provincial titles from 1919
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.
meanwhile, stayed in Cupar. He got a couple of offers.
The Bruins even gave him a tryout. But Aubrey wasn't
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.
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continuation of story
Hockey Hall of Fame did it in 1947.
hockey officials did it in 1970.
Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame did it in 1990.
Saturday night, the community of Cupar gave the original
"Big Bad Bruin" his due.
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."
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.
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
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.
before retiring from the National Hockey League in 1939,
Shore purchased the American Hockey League's Springfield
Indians and ran the club until 1976.
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.
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
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
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.
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
was also inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall
of Fame in 1990.
Shore Jr., who followed in his father foot-steps in
hockey administration with the Indians, says he has
fond memories of his famous dad.
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."
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
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,
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.