50th anniversary of Allan Cup win
Jim Fisher recalls that 50 years ago it was another mild spring. After all, he used the Allan Cup to top up his radiator.
This year marks 50 years since Drumheller was the talk of the nation winning the national senior men’s hockey championship. In May of 2016, the Drumheller Miners defeated the Sherbrooke Beavers in six games to win the Allan Cup. This was a golden age of hockey in the valley.
“That Al Rollins (Miners goalie) said Drumheller would have finished fourth in the NHL when the league went to 12 teams, that’s how good the hockey was,” said Fisher.
Fisher was the manager of the team and said the road to the Allan Cup began a couple seasons before. The Miners typically competed in the Intermediate A division. They worked with the league to become the Alberta Hockey League without designation. In 1965, they tried it, and went up against the best of BC, which was a powerhouse. The Miners were in contention.
“We were really feeling like we could do something here,” said Fisher.
Tony Kollman was a member of the club and recalls they were building a special team.
“I think we felt fairly strong about the Allan Cup,” he said. “It was quite an experience and time has gone by very quickly.”
The Miners began to pick up some top-notch additions, including Sid Finney. At the time Finney was playing in Chicago, but he was unhappy and trading him to Detroit didn’t help, so he was sent to the Edmonton Flyers, a pro team. He was impressed by the Drumheller Miners’ draw.
“They (Flyers) only had 1,700 fans on a Saturday night. When we came in to play the Oil Kings and they locked the doors 20 minutes before the game started because there was too many fans,” said Fisher.
Finney knew Drumheller’s coach and told him he would be playing here next year. He somehow managed to have his amateur status reinstated and Finney was a Miner.
“Sure enough he showed up in Hanna for his first game,” laughs Fisher.
Midway into the season they added Al Rollins. The goaltender had won a Stanley Cup and the Vezina Trophy in 1951 as a Maple Leaf. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1954 with the Blackhawks. He had been out of the NHL for about five years before joining the Miners.
“When we got Finney, we knew we had a reasonable chance, when we got Rollins, we said ‘ oh boy!” said Fisher.
The Miners won the Alberta League regular season and in the playoffs they went to Game 7 versus the Edmonton Oil Kings, After 10 minutes of overtime, they decided to stop beating each other up as Edmonton was on its way to the Memorial Cup playoffs in 48 hours and Drumheller was set to play the Calgary Spurs in the Allan Cup playoffs in 72 hours.
“Bill Hunter (Oil Kings general manager) and I were suspended for refusing to play Game 8, but Hunter and I rigged a deal to get back in,” said Fisher. “We had bigger fish to fry.”
In the first round, the Miners disposed of the Calgary Spurs in three straight games. During the season, the Miners were playing home games in Hanna because the Drumhel l e r Arena had burned down. After the Calgary series, the Canadian Hockey Association made an order barring the Miners from playing in Hanna. There was no ice in Edmonton. In Calgary, they met with the Stampede Board and Fisher said Ed Dutton went to bat for the Miners and secured the Stampede Corral for them to play.
“Then on Good Friday, we set an all time attendance record for the Corral!”
In the next round, they played the Kimberly Dynamiters for the Western International Hockey League.
“That was a really close series. They had the reputation in the west of being unbeatable, but we did get them in three straight games,” said Fisher.
He recalls through the Seth Martin Smoke Eaters for Kimberley.
The rule was that you could only play a pick-up goalie if your number one goalie was hurt, somehow their goalie got hurt,” Fisher recalls.
The next series saw them come up against the Selkirk Fishermen. That was the final test before the final versus, Sherbrooke, Quebec, the defending Allan Cup Champions. Fisher explains they kept that team together to defend the cup, and after 1966 series 10 players went to the NHL.
This was a tough series stretching out to six games. The final game’s score was 5-0. “Drumheller was a household name across Canada because we were the smallest community to ever win the cup at that time. People couldn’t believe a place the size of Drumheller could build a team that could actually compete fairly well in the NHL,” said Fisher.
As for filling his radiator, on the drive back to Drumheller, Fisher’s new Chevrolet overheated. He used the Alan cup to draw water from the ditch to fill his radiator.
“They retired that cup about a year after,” said Fisher
For Kollman, he has fond memories
“We had a very good relationship among the players. Roy Kelly was coach and he was excellent. I think that is one of the reasons we managed to do what we ended up doing. It was a highlight to win the Allan Cup,” said Kollman. It is something I will remember all my life.” that midway second game, of the Trail played in net
Locally Owned and Operated by Greg and Summer Manca “We had a very good relationship among the players. Roy Kelly was coach and he was excellent. I think that is one of the reasons we managed to do what we ended up doing. It was a highlight to win the Allan Cup. It is something I will remember all my life.”
The Drumheller Miners became the Allan Cup champions in May 1966, 50 years Sherbrooke Beavers in six games. ago after beating the