Is our Allen Cup fever back?

Do the Thunder’s four-straight wins over the Dryden Ice Dogs signal a rebirth of our half-century old “Allan Cup fever?”
Now add in our high school Muskies competing at the all-Ontarios starting today and decide whether our old “Hockey Town Canada” here is still alive and kicking!
Our big year, 1952, was in a different era and yet there may never have been a better renewal of all that emotion in the full 53 years since Stratford rolled in here and lost amid such local emotion as has never been witnessed since!
Our Canadians had lost the Dominion senior finals narrowly down at Owen Sound only the year before. Then they vowed to wipe out that defeat while their new rink filled with hungry hometown fans with all Canada watching!
Gone were all the disappointments of every playoff since the Second World War! Our Canadians just keep on advancing season after season as their determination became a full-fledged fever.
They attracted sports fans from far and wide while our town talked of little else.
Now we seem to be getting set for another shot at the grand old Allan Cup, or at least its modern equivalent.
We rode along then on community support that never wavered! It grew stronger every spring because our contenders were fully Fort Frances. Included were very few imports like goalie Bill Cleavely, a university grad who had replaced Harry Barefoot only that year.
Even their principal employer, the papermill, hooked into our dream that year by continuing the players’ wages during their road trips. And behind the “bench” we had gifted and numerous volunteers like Joe Murray, the town’s recreation director, and Alf Russell as president.
Meanwhile, dedicated team committee members never missed a meeting.
The Canadians already had campaigned every winter since the war ended, picking up strength right along under their regular coach, Joe Bolzan, and manager Glen Steele.
Solid in every department, they still kept offering fall try-outs to younger players—and finding plenty of quality right at home! Even the youngest recruits had hardened down by playoff time!
You can see our Allan Cuppers’ photo in a variety of places around town. Alas, the passing years have thinned their ranks as a number of those wonderful people failed to survive, players and non-players alike.
But now Fort Frances is proud to offer a new team to carry the town flag. Make that teams, plural, because the Muskies are substituting for a good junior team, the Royals, who followed the Canadians.
New players are proud to go it again while once again the town stands behind them—proud to wave our hockey flag around Canada once more.
Revival of the old Allan Cup spirit, and that same fever we once knew so well, could be occurring again this spring. And if it’s as overwhelming as before, well this could be your warning.
• • •
Mildred Brockie phoned to help me spell our early bicycle repair man’s name correctly after it came out badly about a week ago as my regular mistake of the week.
That name was “Schweitzer!”
• • •
Arleigh Mallory, maybe the only Fort Frances man besides myself to go farming, is holding 22 cattled yet up on his 611 Highway North acreage in Crozier. He has three sons involved.
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Lloyd Lundquist gave me the best ballpoint pan I ever handled and then brought along two refills for it!
• • •
The Northern Action Group (NAG) keeps busy with all kinds of causes and reported complaints, including advocate work and numerous issues. Among them is the long-expressed need for an overpass or foot walk above the railroad for pedestrians.
There is only the Portage Avenue underpass for walkers, so far.
The “Naggers” are still headed by Sybil Mowe, who makes their needs made public at ever opportunity while still confined to her wheelchair in Flinders Place.
• • •
Marguerite Langstaff, formerly of Emo, turned 90 at Rainycrest on March 17, reports Lloyd.
Although born in Kenora District, Mrs. Langstaff grew up in the Maritimes, which she calls the “country of covered bridges.” She formerly worked at Emo as a waitress.
• • •
Gold mining prospects again are discussed at Blackhawk, north of Barwick, reports Howard Roen, who has learned a B.C. company will commence drilling there in April.
Core samples already extracted are said to “look very good!”
But a Stratton youth I met at lunch says there has not yet been a diamond mine started at Red Lake, where rock formations seemed promising. South African drillers, experienced in finding diamonds, apparently have come and gone.
Their hopes were aroused by the fact gold up there also may indicate the presence of a diamond “pipe.”
• • •
Robert Moore teacher Gemma Lamonato returned from her latest world trip about a month ago. This time, she visited the South Seas to look over Australia and New Zealand, and was delighted to see the Great Barrier Reef, north of Australia.
Her former home was Italy, so I told her I am still putting off a trip to Campobasso province in south Italy, where my late father inherited some desirable real estate from his father.
Now relatives there, my dad’s half-brothers and sister, wrote me in hopes I might take possession and turn the property over to them.
• • •
Our drivers are not looking forward to the CNR subway reconstruction with the bumps and jumps of the McIrvine railroad crossing being the main alternative route.
But there are still drivers remembering the discomforts of an old cordoroy road near the river that still can be felt occasionally!
• • •
Memories of Second World War conditions keep surfacing in discussions of POW camps, including one near Barwick and others where German prisoners were kept at our bush camps at Flanders and Glenorchie, where they could enjoy regular liberty as long as they returned by nightfall!
Canadians would meet them wandering around the logging trails and both sides would wave in a friendly way.
• • •
I’ll have to await the return of Nick Andrusco from his winter home in Florida to recall the fate of our Ukrainian dancers whose entertainment we always enjoyed for years but never see nowadays.
A score of boys and girls were involved in every occasion.
Their native costumes along stole the show before all their brilliant singing and dancing got underway, and the rest of us always considered ourselves lucky to be in their audience.

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