Kollman inducted into Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame
There aren't many as memorable on the ice as Tony Kollman, and now he is being inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame.
This year's inductees were announced Wednesday, March 15. Kollman is in a 2017 class that includes Glen Sather and the Sutter family. He is humble in his acceptance. “It is certainly a big surprise for me, I never even thought about it,” said Kollman. “I've been inducted into three Hall of Fames already, the Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Canadian, those were with a team, but this time it is as an individual.
“I didn't think that I was anything special… all in all, it has been a pleasure.”
Few have matched the legacy left by Tony Kollman on amateur hockey in Alberta in the 1960s and 70s.
Originally from Major, SK, his career started in Saskatchewan with Regina (SJHL) and Kerrobert (SIHL) before moving to Alberta. He played a couple years with the Hanna Hornets before moving to the Drumheller Miners for an 11-year career (1959-60 to 1970-71). His playing career finished with two seasons with the Senior A Calgary Stampeders.
It was during his time with the Miners that Kollman shined. The Miners won four Alberta Senior Hockey championships, capping it off with the Allan cup in the 1965-66 season. Then, in 1966-67, the team participated in a European Tour and the Ahearne Cup in Sweden. During his career in Drumheller, he was named Team MVP nine times, led the team in total points eight times, and penalty minutes six times. He says the Miners was the best team he ever played on.
“At that time Al Rollins was our goaltender and he said at that time, had we been playing in the NHL when he was playing, we would have been in about fourth position, which was hard for me to believe,” he said.
Tony was also sought-after in the 1960s by other teams in Alberta looking to bolster their ranks in the playoffs or overseas tours. He was an addition to teams such as the Olds Elks (1960-61 Western Canadian Intermediate A champions), and Lacombe Rockets (Ahearne Cup, European tour, 1964-65).
Tony did get his chance to play at the professional level, joining the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (5 games, 1970-71), and playing a key role with the Roanoke Valley Rebels (1972-73), a farm team of the new World Hockey Association's Philadelphia Blazers. Tony played the final nine games of the regular season, and 12 playoff games, totaling 27 points for Roanoke Valley. But his real profession came calling, and he had to return to Alberta with the league final tied 1-1. Roanoke lost in five games.
Friend and former manager of the Drumheller Miners, Jim Fisher, said the professional ranks at that time were much different than the multi-million dollar contracts players today receive.
“If you had a good job you wouldn't go to the NHL because in 1967, it was rumoured the highest paid player was Gordie Howe at $8,500 a season. These seniors could make almost that much money staying home if you had a good job, and play hockey on the side,” said Fisher. He said Kollman was a showman. “When we went to Spokane, they said it was worth 1,500 more fans when Kollman showed up,” said Fisher. He put on a show for them.”
Not only was Tony a star player, after his major playing days were over he stayed involved in hockey and helped introduce Junior A hockey to east-central Alberta, as co-owner of the Drumheller Falcons. The Falcons operated from 1971-82.
Kollman has seen much change in the game, the most being the players continue to get bigger and stronger.
“They're tough, but they are still getting banged around like I did,” he chuckles, adding he is still rooting for the Flames.
The induction ceremony is on Sunday, July 23 in Canmore.
Tony Kollman, will be inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame July 23 in Canmore, AB. Picture is of Mr. Kollman when he played for the Roanoke Rebels in Roanoke, Va in 1973.