Thursday, February 12, 2009

70 Years Ago Today...

(The 1939 Trail Smoke Eaters. Back row from left : Bunny Dame, Benny Hayes, Joe Benoit, O.H. Nelson (Manager), J.F. Ahearne (IIHF Chairman), Tom Johnston, Jimmy Haight, Mel Snowdon, Front row : Duke Scodellaro, Mickey Brennan, Dick Kowcinak, Ab Cronie, Jimmy Morris, Johnny McCreedy, Buck Buchanan. Picture from the Smoke Eaters website.)

On this day seventy years ago a team of young men sporting the orange and black of the Trail Smoke Eaters defeated a squad from the United States 4-0 to claim hockey's World Championship. Unlike most representatives of Canada, the Smokies never got "Team Canada" jerseys and instead represented our country with that old smoke stack logo on their chests. As a result of their efforts and the efforts of the great 1961 Smoke Eaters, that jersey and that logo are legendary symbols of hockey excellent not only in Trail or in Canada, but in Europe and across the globe.

If you'd like to learn more about the 1939 Smokies there's more information on the BCHL team's official website. There are also a number of books and even a video documentary on Trail's storied hockey history. That great team in 1939 really in some ways started it all, and the Trail Junior Smoke Eaters are going to honour their past with a pre-game ceremony tomorrow night. Don't miss a special video tribute and ceremony before the opening face off against Vernon. That team still means a lot not only to Trail but to the entire hockey community. Hopefully honouring them tomorrow night will help inspire the current Smokies to overcome the odds themselves and take down one of Canada's top Tier II teams.

Here's team president Tom Gawryletz on what the Smokies will be doing to honour the '39 World Champs:

Smokies President Tom Gawryletz

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