Koll­man in­ducted into Al­berta Hockey Hall of Fame

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

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.

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