Bannerman Lakers inducted into Hall of Fame
Former players reminisce about glory days of CBN ball hockey
The Bannerman Lakers, a ball hockey team that Harbour Grace’s own Danny Cleary played with, was recently inducted into the Harbour Grace Sports Hall of Fame. Dean Shute, a player with the team, spoke with The Compass about some of his fondest memories playing with the Lakers.
“We had a lot of fun back then, and met a lot of people … It was nice to see people we haven’t seen for a while. A lot of them had to move out of the community for work. It was good to get together and talk about old times.” Dean Shute
The Bannerman Lakers men’s ball hockey team was inducted into the Harbour Grace Sports Hall of Fame in May, bringing back lots of memories for former Lakers who played with the team in the 1980s and 1990s.
Dean Shute started playing with the Lakers in 1988. He recalls the team’s 54-game winning streak in the early 1990s, with the Lakers claiming the Conception Bay North Ball Hockey League championship title for five consecutive years.
There were about six teams in the league at the time, and according to Shute, the Lakers were the team to beat.
“It was a very competitive league, and a lot of ice hockey players played in it too,” said Shute.
“There was big rivalry between towns. We played a lot against Bay Roberts, and they had some of the best hockey players around. They had a very competitive team.”
It was the Riverhead Redwings that finally took the Lakers down and ended their winning streak, said Shute.
“It was a big rivalry, and of course everybody wanted to beat the Lakers.”
Trevor Williams played with the team in the early 1990s, and remembers playing with some familiar names.
“When I came back from the military I started playing ball hockey with the guys. It was around the same time Danny Cleary came back. Cory Crocker played with us as well that year. It was a long time ago, but there are great memories from those games.”
The team went through several name changes over the years, according to Shute.
“We were Hunt’s Hotel in the beginning. Then we went to the Bannerman Lakers, to the Pirate’s Cave, to the Harbour Grace South Gulls. We had lots of different sponsors and support over the years.”
Twenty-five of the approximately 31 former Lakers attended the induction ceremony at the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre, named for the Lakers most famous alum – who later played for the rival team.
“Danny was part of that Redwings team that beat us,” said Shute.
Shute said the induction ceremony was a reminder of some great times.
“We had a lot of fun back then, and met a lot of people,” he said. “It was nice to see people we haven’t seen for a while. A lot of them had to move out of the community for work. It was good to get together and talk about old times.”
It was an especially rewarding night for the two former players. Shute’s daughter, Katie, received the Sonia Williams award for Junior Female Athlete of the Year, and William’s son, Ryon, won the S.W. Moores Memorial Senior Male Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year.
The Bannerman Lakers were inducted into the Harbour Grace Sports Hall of Fame in May. About 25 former players were on hand to accept the honour and reminisce about the glory days of ball hockey in Conception Bay North.