50th an­niver­sary of Al­lan Cup win

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail Tony Koll­man file­photo

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

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