Se­nior B Petes bat­tled on, off ice for pro­vin­cial ti­tle

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - DON BAR­RIE

Just months be­fore the be­gin­ning of the Sec­ond World War, 79 years ago next month, Peter­bor­ough’s premier hockey team, the se­nior B Petes, was in the thick of a pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship se­ries.

The year be­fore, in 1938, the Petes lost the two-game goals-to-count se­nior B semi­fi­nal se­ries 7-6 to Ni­a­gara Falls. With es­sen­tially the same team, the Petes were pre­pared to re­deem them­selves.

Play­ing out of the Brock Street Arena with its nat­u­ral ice, the playoffs started in Fe­bru­ary of 1939. In the East­ern On­tario group playoffs, the Petes faced the Tren­ton Air­men.

The first game of the best-of-five se­ries was in Peter­bor­ough where the lo­cals squeaked out a 6-5 win. More than 1,500 fans crammed into the “Brock” as it was of­ten re­ferred to in those days. Com­fort­ably up 6-2 late in the third pe­riod they gave up three goals in 90 sec­onds to the “Fly­boys” as Ex­am­iner sports editor Cec Per­due called the Tren­ton team. Ed­die Starr paced the Petes with four points with Honey Tomkins and Bun King­don help­ing out.

In game two in Belleville where Tren­ton played their home games, the Petes took a 2-0 se­ries lead with a 3-1 vic­tory. Ray Hard­ing was noted for his “bril­liant” play in goal for the Petes.

Now with the third and pos­si­bly de­cid­ing game sched­uled for Peter­bor­ough, an ear­lier back­room deal in­ter­vened, as was of­ten the case in those days.

Cec Per­due ex­plained in The Ex­am­iner: Be­fore the sea­son started, the con­vener of the league, from Belleville, held a vote with the team man­agers. They ap­proved a deal that if in a five-game se­ries, one team wins the first two games, the los­ing team is guar­an­teed the third game, re­gard­less, in the se­ries. That meant the third game, sched­uled for Peter­bor­ough, was shifted back to Belleville. The lo­cal fans or the press were not alerted to this pos­si­bil­ity and were ex­tremely up­set.

There were sug­ges­tions the Petes would lay down in game three to get an­other home gate but they in­stead slammed the Fly­ers 9-4 to win the se­ries. Un­for­tu­nately there still was a lot of an­i­mos­ity by lo­cal fans to­wards the Petes man­age­ment for not an­nounc­ing the deal ear­lier.

As Per­due wrote the next day, “Per­son­ally, we think it was more poor judg­ment on the part of the Petes of­fi­cers than de­lib­er­ate ‘phenagling.’”

In 1939 the On­tario Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion had four di­vi­sions of se­nior B hockey. The four di­vi­sion win­ners, Peter­bor­ough, Chatham, Ni­a­gara and Water­loo, played a round robin se­ries for the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship.

In an­other story the Owen Sound Greys of the OHA ju­nior A se­ries an­nounced a unique sys­tem to scout play­ers for their next year’s team. They in­vited in a team of prospects to play the cur­rent team and gave each fan a bal­lot to write the names of three of the op­po­nents they would like on their team next sea­son. They then signed them.

Af­ter the ear­lier con­tro­versy, the Petes, in an­other un­pop­u­lar move, raised ad­mis­sion prices for the three round-robin games to 75 cents for adults.

Af­ter split­ting the first two games at home, the Petes headed out in taxis to play first in Ni­a­gara, then Chatham. They lost 5-1 in Ni­a­gara in a fight-filled game with hos­til­i­ties run­ning over from the pre­vi­ous year’s playoffs. The next night in Chatham, they tied the Ma­roons. That elim­i­nated them from the se­ries.

Peter­bor­ough had no se­nior B team the next year. In the 194142 sea­son, play­ing as a Cana­dian army team and us­ing some sol­diers train­ing in Mor­row Park, Peter­bor­ough won the On­tario ti­tle. Soon af­ter the city sold the Brock Street Arena to a dance hall op­er­a­tor and the city was with­out an in­door rink un­til 1949.

Don Bar­rie is a re­tired teacher, for­mer Buf­falo Sabres scout and a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Peter­bor­ough and District Sports Hall of Fame. His col­umn ap­pears each Satur­day in The Ex­am­iner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.