Hockey Canada celebrates Senior Hockey
- A note for the Senior hockey fans... I didn't know about this Hockey Canada initiative... mentioned in our local rag ...
Dave in Whitby
A banner day for the Dunnies
1958 World Championship team to be honoured by Hockey Canada Saturday
Jan 30, 2007
By Brian McNair
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WHITBY -- Fans of the Whitby Dunlops have a rare treat in store Saturday.
Not only will they get an Eastern Ontario Hockey League playoff preview when the Dunnies entertain the Norwood Vipers, but they will get the first look at a new banner to be raised at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre.
Hockey Canada will officially recognize the team's famous 1958 World Championship by making a stop in Whitby, and presenting the banner with many of the former players looking on.
It's part of a recent Hockey Canada initiative that has already seen banners raised in such areas as Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Belleville and Trail, B.C., over the past couple of years.
"It was actually the brainchild of Bob Nicholson, our president, as a way to thank the teams from the past that won world championships and create a banner we could raise in the arenas and bring new recognition to those teams," says Bruce Newton, a Whitby resident and Director of Business Development and Licensing for Hockey Canada.
"Back in the days the Dunnies played, communication wasn't what it is today. We just wanted to bring back the memories of those championship teams and make sure the current citizens of those communities realize they actually had a world champion from their community."
Among the several former Dunnies expected to be part of the special day is Doug Williams, who has the good fortune of being able to watch a relative, grandson Matt Armstrong, play for the current team.
He will be joined by the likes of Bobby Attersley, the team's star player who went on to become mayor of Whitby, and team manager Wren Blair, who both still live in Whitby. Unfortunately, Harry Sinden, who went on to make the biggest name for himself, is unable to make it from his Massachusetts home.
"It's special always when you call them back after quite a number of years," says Williams, 75. "We're looking forward to it. We don't see each other as often as we used to. It's kind of nice to sort of talk old times. We've all changed a little bit. Some of us are a little slower."
Williams' story is one of the more remarkable, quite apart from the fact his grandson now wears the same jersey.
After winning an Allan Cup with the Dunlops in 1957, Williams declined the trip to Europe in 1958 because he was busy raising a young family and couldn't stay away for what turned out to be two months.
However, the town of Whitby raised a giant thermometre at the four corners and started a fund to send both Williams and Sandy Air to Oslo for the World Championships, which occupied only 10 days of the entire tour.
In the end, enough money was raised to send the two by plane, and while Williams never saw any game action while there, he will never forget the experience.
"We were treated like real heroes," he fondly recalls. "This team was out of this world for the support they got from all over the country. No matter where you went, if you played for the Dunlops they remembered you. And still do."
The Hockey Canada presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, followed about 15 minutes later by the game.
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