Collector honours ’52 Canadians in own way

Former Fort Frances resident Rob Murray has collected a countless number of hockey memorabilia in his life.
But he said assembling a display to mark the 50th anniversary of the season in which the Fort Frances Canadians won the Allan Cup–which currently sits in the showcase at La Place Rendez-Vous until the end of the month–had more personal meaning than any item autographed by Guy Lafleur or Bobby Orr.
“This one is the most sentimental. It was a fun project to have on the go,” said the 42-year-old teacher and co-owner of “Original 6” memorabilia in Lindsay, Ont.
The group hosts autograph shows featuring sports legend across the southern Ontario area.
The centerpiece of the display is a digital copy of an old team photo Murray found in the home of his parents, Bruce and Barb Murray. The photo was made into a digital negative before it was blown up and maintained its sharpness.
Other items include generic old sticks, skates, and a new polo shirt with the original Canadians’ logo brandished on it.
“When I saw the two logos, he hit it dead on,” he noted. “The quality just came out great.”
But Murray said the most enjoyable part of putting things together was meeting various members of the team.
“I went around to everyone on the Canadians. I met with a lot of them,” he said. “I gave them each one of the hats as a token of appreciation for what they did.”
E.A. “Doc” Johnson returned the favour upon seeing the finished product. The former Canadian gave Murray a 1950s-style hockey stick signed by all the members of the winning team.
“I was so grateful for that. That means as much to me as any other collectible I’ve owned,” Murray said.
“I just have my strong feelings about my home town. If this catches a few people’s interest, then to me it’s all worthwhile.”
Up for almost three weeks already and scheduled to be brought down at the end of the month, the display has been well received so far, said Rendez-Vous co-owner Paul Noonan.
“Any time you can put anything of local interest, it’s worthwhile to us,” he added.
More displays honouring the ’52 Canadians are planned. Don and Dave Lovisa, whose late father, Don, was a team member, are putting the finishing touches on a display at the Memorial Sports Centre.
The 50th anniversary of the Canadians’ Allan Cup win is May 3, 2002.