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Tuesday , 22 September 2020

Blast from the Past

Tales from the Timebox: April 6th, 2020

Image: 1994-95 Elk Point Peewee Blades

I always joked about writing a book one day with all my hockey and ball stories. Didn’t think I would ever have the time. Now who knows? All the sports channels have been doing rewinds from the past. NHL, NBA MBL games and other sports. I watched a few and they are really cool. Looks like I am going to be doing the same. Last week we recapped the 1995 Bantam Lightning provincial team. This week’s chapter we are going back to the year 1994.

The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup after a 54 year drought. My beloved Maple Leafs won ten games in a row to start the season. They lost to Vancouver in the quarter final. The Leafs right now are sitting on 53 years without a Stanley Cup. But who’s counting? The former Edmonton Oiler Mark Messier was captain of the Rangers and guaranteed they would win the cup. Vancouver lost out in that final series to the Rangers. The NHL league leading goal scorer was Pavel Bure, with 60 goals that year. He was playing with Vancouver The NHL season started with two brand new teams. The Florida Panthers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim entered the league. And the Minnesota North Stars moved to Texas to become the Dallas North Stars.

In 1994, I was coaching the Elk Point Peewee Blades. My sidekick and best friend, the late Marshall Moroziuk was my assistant. Bob Matthews was the manager. Shaun Moroziuk was the captain of the team. He was a true leader with no off button who lead by example, kind of like Mark Messier.

Jonny Quinney and Brad Pankiw, the assistant captains on the team were both very talented. Ben Poulin was our goalie. If he got sick or hurt, like the time the one of the boys wired a slap shot off his face mask at warm up, Nathan Matthews would strap on the pads. Might of happened a couple times that winter but Benny boy was usually between the pipes. Of course my son Jordan was on the team. He played forward or defense wherever needed the most. He is extremely good at shutting down the competition’s top line player.

Marshall ‘the Big Kahuna’ Moroziuk with his big Lincoln Town Car could usually haul half of the team to the out of town games if necessary I could take three or four in my truck. Together we would make sure the all the boys had a ride. We played in the old Highway 28 League with Cold Lake, Grande Centre, Bonnyville, St. Paul, Glendon, Mallaig and Lac La Biche. Our team was having a very good year. We were able to compete with most teams winning the majority of the games. The only team we had trouble with was Lac La Biche. They seemed to be able to get under our boys’ skin. Before the game was over we would end up in the sin bin with a few 10 minute or game misconducts. Plus the Clippers were no slouches when it came to goal scoring. They had some talent too. We must have played them four times that year and lost every time.

After the games we would always have to stop for a bite. Our favorite spot was the Pizza Hut in the old Grande Centre. It was fairly new at the time. They had a deal; you buy one pizza at the regular price and then after that it was, five bucks, five bucks, five bucks for as many as you could eat. Just in case you didn’t know, peewee boys can eat a whole mess of pizza. And the ice cream sundae bar was a bonus, all you could eat there too! I don’t know how times my buddy Marshall would pick up the tab for the kids who hitched a ride. He was very generous man for sure.

When the provincial round robins came around in late January we made it past Redwater in the first round by one goal. The second game in Redwater was on a bitter cold -40 night. We all traveled in convoy all the way there and home. They had a good team, but we had Shaun, Brad and Jonny who could all find the back of the net. Benny minding the fort and too really big defenseman. Clinton Myshanuik and Craig Hutton who were intimating. Peewee hockey was full body contact back then. The second round we faced off against Lamont. The first game was in Lamont. The boys hammered them winning by three goals. Captain Shaun scored a bunch of them. Back home the next weekend our big captain Shaun had the flu or ate something that didn’t agree with him. He was running back and forth to the dressing room the whole game. His dad Marshall was having a fit on the bench and I’m sure was sick to the stomach too.The boys just couldn’t do it without their leader showing them the way. We lost the series by a goal.

The end of the year the playoffs were held in Mallaig. It was a weekend tournament. We played two on Saturday winning both of them. Then we won the semi final game early Sunday morning. The final was going to be at 5:00 pm so the whole team came back to our house. My wife Donna wasn’t home at the time. Down in the basement the boys watched Don Cherry Rock’em Sock’em tapes. One right after another. I loved watching them too and had a new one given to me every Christmas. The boys are laughing and wrestling around. Meanwhile I tried to cook spaghetti for the first time ever. I had never made it before but I knew the boys needed some pasta for power. Lucky for me Donna came home and bailed me out saving the day. The boys filled up on pasta and Don Cherry tapes and headed back to Mallaig. And as fate would have it who do you think we meet in the finals? None other than our old nemesis the Clippers from Lac La Biche. Maybe they were over confident or we just out played them but the boys won the game and the Highway 28 League banner and bragging rights for the year. I truly believe it was the spaghetti!

At the end of the year the wind up party was held at the pool in Lloydminister. After the swim we had Pizza Hut (of course). The team gave me my favourite Maple Leaf retro sweater. Just like the kind the Leafs wore in the early glory days. I know my buddy Marshall was behind it all and I think of him every time I put it on. I only wear it for a special occasion.

K. A Campbell quote of the week. ‘Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.’ – Peter Drucker

About Doug Bassett