Applaud them all again June 7

They came from the fabulous and legendary land of Atlantis, where the pine trees grow even taller than local lumber piles were then and the drinking water lakes lie all around for wondrous fishing to attract anglers by the thousands.
That is where everything verges on perfection and eternal success. And it’s also where well-motivated athletes sometimes can demonstrate an extra element that makes them champions.
Maybe it’s persistence, as well as style and speed, because the Fort Frances Canadians, who had everything going, managed to come back from losses in two Western Canada final series as well as two Dominion finals defeats.
So, when they came back again in 1932, boasting now an almost entirely hometown lineup and perhaps the smallest team ever to get that far, the Canadians were no surprise—even for the skilled times they played in.
Their reputation had preceded them as they raided and attacked challengers from the Pacific to beyond the Great Lakes.
Wherever they had lost before, the senior hockey towns all knew our Canadians would be returning—again and again if necessary—and their premonitions were well-founded.
So what do you do against three forward lines so well-balanced, and that never-say-die band of defenceman? All backed by an inspired, college-trained goaltender who recognized his position as a privilege?
And roared onward by a tough Italian coach with lungs of leather?
Coach Joe Bolzan and several of the others no longer are here but he could dominate that combination. Yet his presence was no more important than many of the others. From playing together most of their lives, all had the same spark to ignite victory wherever they showed up because their camaraderies were awesome.
And when they came together after five years elsewhere, as did some such as Richard Ricard and Frank (Ike) Eizensoph, this was overall a compact package with no loose ends.
Ricard, who partnered Doc Johnson, and Ike, going stride for stride on Walter Christiansen’s line that included Mike Hupchuk, had both been far away in earlier campaigns before coming home in 1949, about halfway along in the Canadians’ search for the holy grail senior hockey—the Allan Cup.
Vern (Blackie) O’Donnell was well supported by Ed or Torpedo Kliner and frequently Willy Toninato, the coach’s brother. The scoring statistics leaned their way usually although the other two lines were very close.
And the three regular blueliners, Captain Sambo Fedoruk, Ed (Dun) Sampson and Alex Kurceba, made the goal light flash often with their slapshots.
Ricard had stick-handled around England for a fellow named Percy Nicklin, who recruited for a Harringay team, while Eisenzoph had left one of famous Eddy Shore’s teams at Boston to rejoin his hometown gang.
Both returnees were welcomed back with open arms the same year (1950). And Ike could fill in on defence whenever required.
So Coach Bolzan, their regular trainer who was preceded by professional coaches, had no trouble sending out the very best and most experienced lines on every line change and, a rare thing for any team, his players usually stayed healthy.
(A few beers afterwards never bothered this bunch a bit, it should be added here before every reader who knew them will accuse the writer of covering up!)
It’s expected goalie Bill Cleaveley, the MNR career man who took charge of the nets after the late Harry Barefoot left, and Alex Kurceba at Winnipeg and Bill Galbraith in B.C., will join the Canadians again for their June 7 celebration because they never miss a reunion.
And there have been several here on the decades as a rule, and maybe by then their popular old referee, Buck Riley, will be on the mend with his health.
The Allan Cup finals introduced several other local players who all fit in extremely well and are pictured at the arena, among them Gordon Gosselin, Gordy Calder, Pete Makarchuk, Raymond Coran, and the late Don Lovisa—and never did a better hometown lineup get together anywhere.
Fans did not have to ask where any of our well-remembered players came from because we were so proud of each and every one as hometown products.
• • •
Not everyone here has been staying cold. When Howie and Eva Costello got back from Florida, they could report everyone down there had been spending most of their time walking between air-conditioned buildings while the temperature stood at 96F!
Howie went to see his sister, the only other surviving member of his parents’ family, but he managed to pick just about the hottest time available there so far?
• • •
Last week in reviewing our recreation council’s backing of the Allan Cuppers, I named Joe Murray as “rec director” in that period and wanted to name his secretary also.
Next day I met her, Pat Alton, and she is still residing in Atikokan. Pat and Joe were popular people in our old rink office!
• • •
Artist Peter Spuzak wants it known that his large carving of a muskie fish should be spared for him when and if the old high school is ever to be torn down—and let’s all pray that doesn’t have to happen!
What a tragedy to even think about a loss like that, but such things do occur. Anyway, Peter would be pleased to be invited to remove his muskie himself first!
Yet someone, somehow, should be going into action right now on that beautiful, big building! It’s tough to realize there is so little interest showing even yet!
If the town wants to drop it on someone, try me first!
• • •
In connection with the old rec council membership, I should have brought up the name of Jim Gartshore, father of our present papermill manager.
Jim Sr., was as much involved there as anyone, and I don’t know why he was not included on my list last week!
• • •
Someone asked the other day whether I knew anything about the warship, S.S. Fort Frances, that was built in Port Arthur shipyard in time for Atlantic service during World War Two.
A picture had turned up and aroused memories of the Algerines named for towns of Northwestern Ontario, including here and Kenora.
Well, I certainly should know because as a young welder, I helped put our big boat together.
Algerines were classed midway between minesweepers and corvettes, and our own got an official launching from our Chamber of Commerce and town officials in the year 1942—just before I joined the air force.
• • •
Another reminder. While Lyn Boileau is assembling names of Royal Canadian Air Force survivors like himself. Other ex-airmen, including Bruce Murray, Stan Ward, and Ross Webb, were wondering whether he can list more than a dozen.
And that comes as a real shocker considering how popular air force enlistment became for so many here.

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