Owen Sound: A Hockey Hotbed in 1950-51 

Owen Sound was a Hockey Hotbed in 1950-51: Their fans were hockey crazy during this OHA Senior A Championship season as their star-studded team marched to an Allan Cup victory.

The 1950s began with Canada involved in yet another war. Society was undergoing dramatic changes. But one constant remained, this area was still a hockey hotbed and in the first hockey season of that decade another national hockey title came home to the Grey and Bruce region. 

The Owen Sound Senior "A" Mercurys enjoyed a dream season during 1950-51, thrilling their fans in this hockey hotbed. The Owen Sound hockey club battled the Stouffville Clippers for first place during most of the season. However, late in the season, the Mercs pulled away from the rest of the Big Seven Senior League to capture the league title. 

1950-51 Owen Sound Mercurys Program1950-51 Owen Sound Mercurys Game Program - Paul White Hockey Memorabilia Collection

The Mercurys entered the playoffs hopeful of a long post-season run. Stouffville offered little opposition for the Owen Sounders in the first round, bowing out after five games. In the second round, the Peterborough Petes were the victims in four games to goalie Bob Gilson, and the rest of the Mercurys. 

Gilson provided the all-star goaltending necessary for a hockey team to win a championship. But he was not alone in guarding the Owen Sound end of the ice. The Mercurys defense consisted of four veteran defensemen, who made any opposing player “pay the price" if they ventured into the Mercs' end of the rink. Harry Kazarian, Art Hayward, Bun White and Bill Allum were as good as any defense core in the country. 

On the forward line there was a good mixture of veterans and youngsters. 

A trio of speedy youngsters, John Macdonald, Andy Grant and Bob Markle, formed the checking line. Veterans Tommy Burlington, Buck Forslund, Pat McReavy, Doug Gillespie, Jack Ingoldsby, Freddy Smith and Mike Buchacheski provided the leadership and scoring punch. 

The Mercurys defeated the Sarnia Sailors to capture the Ontario title. Next the Mercurys travelled to Sault Ste. Marie. The Greyhounds won both games on their home ice and were so confident of victory that they didn't bother to bring a change of clothes when they travelled to Owen Sound for what they figured would only be one game. 

But, the results would be different when the teams came to Owen Sound. In this hockey hotbed of Senior hockey fans, Bobby Gilson and the rest of the Mercurys were not about to disappoint their fans by accommodating the wishes of the over- confident Greyhounds. Led by the veteran netminder, a determined defense, and the well-balanced forward lines of the Mercurys, the Owen Sound team roared back, to win all three home games and capture the series. 

In the Eastern Canadian finals, the Mercury faced the Dolbeau Castors of the Lac St. Jean area of Quebec. They captured that title by a margin of 3 games to 1. 

The Canadian finals were between Owen Sound and Fort Frances Canadians. After a hard fought six games, the two teams were tied at three games each. 

On May 9 the seventh game was played in a packed arena. For two periods Gilson and his counterpart from Fort Frances stopped everything the players fired in their direction. 

Bob Gilson Owen Sound Mercurys GoalieBob Gilson Owen Sound Mercurys Goalie - Paul White Collection

In the third period, the Mercurys' veteran forwards, led by Pat McReavy, solved the Canadians' goalie. McReavy, Forslund and Buchacheski scored. 

Late in the game Fort Francis staged a terrific attempt to comeback, but Gilson was equal to the task stopping all but one shot. 

On May 9, 1951 the Owen Sound Mercurys claimed their first Allan Cup. The powerhouse hockey club remained at, or near the top of the senior hockey league for several more years. 

A version of "Owen Sound: A Hockey Hotbed in 1950-51," originally appeared in my Local History column in the November 12, 1999 edition of the Owen Sound Sun Times

More Great Information Pages
About Owen Sound Hockey History

The 1920s Owen Sound Hockey Stars made there mark in amateur ranks and then many of them went on to careers in the NHL and other professional hockey leagues.

The 1927 Owen Sound Greys with a priest serving as coach named Jack Spratt and not one experienced defenseman were an unlikely Canadian National Hockey Championship team.

Benny Grant: Memorial Cup Champ grew up in Owen Sound and enjoyed a hockey career, which included a surprising turn of events that led to a stint in the NHL.

"Buck" Jones, like most Canadian boys, dreamed of playing in the NHL. Little did he realize that one day he would wear the sweater of an NHL club and would be the idol of youngsters like himself!

The Chin Brothers dominated in their hockey league which drew attention from the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ralph "Cooney" Weiland skated from a Memorial Cup championship in Owen Sound, to a Stanley Cup in Boston to fame as a U.S. college hockey coach.

The Crescent Club has a long history of sponsoring sports teams and leagues in Owen Sound providing consistent management and financial assistance to athletics.

"Cyclone" Taylor was hockey's first superstar. Born in Tara Ontario, he was involved in a controversy in Ottawa which still has not been resolved.

Doug Brindley: From Maple Draft Choice to a role in Slap Shot: a Memorial Cup champ; coached by Don Cherry; and he played in the WHA; what more could a Walkerton Ontario native ask for in a hockey career?

The Durham Yellowjackets hockey team was a force to be reckoned with in Ontario Intermediate hockey in the 1930s.

Goalie "Red" Henry: An All-Star Netminder: Another great Owen Sound goalie who played for the love of the game.

"Hap" Day was a Hall of Fame hockey player, coach and general manager as well as a life-long Toronto Maple Leaf.

Norm Locking Chicago Black Hawks & Former Owen Sound Grey was known for his hard and deadly shot in Al Capone's Chicago.

Harry Lumley spent his Hall of Fame hockey career tending the nets for four NHL clubs and he spent one period of a hockey game goaltending for a fifth NHL team.

Henry Kelso: Owen Sound Sports Legend not only contributed to the sporting life of his students, he also had a significant influence on the rest of their lives.

Junior Hockey Commentary: Should there be controversy about the use of non-local hockey players? This article was written in 1998 in response to a letter to the editor in the Owen Sound Sun Times.

Meaford Knights Hockey: The 1953-54 Championship Knights' line-up had of several pairs of brothers. Many felt that the brothers made a winning difference.

Newspaper Sports: Owen Sound Hockey History was detailed in the pages of the Owen Sound Sun Times in detail in the days before the radio and television eras.

Owen Sound Hockey's early history some references suggest started in the 1880s. However there are records of organized hockey teams beginning in the early 1900s.

Owen Sound was a Hockey Hotbed in 1950-51: Their fans were hockey crazy during this OHA Senior A Championship season as their star-studded team marched to an Allan Cup victory.

The 1959-60 Owen Sound Greys: A Tough Act to Follow: Tragedy struck this hockey team of young men, yet they persevered.

The 1960s Owen Sound Greys Stars who went on to NHL action including Brian Perry, Doug Brindley, Jim Schoenfeld, and Jack Lynch brought Owen Sound a reputation as a hockey hotbed!

Owen Sound Attack: The arrival of this new OHL team is the latest chapter in the Owen Sound region's rich hockey history.

Owen Sound Goalies: Why does Owen Sound produce so many fine goaltenders? There must be something in the water! 

Some Great Owen Sound Greys. The history of this hockey team is a story of players who were not only local boys, but came from many locations to hone their skills.

Owen Sound Hockey Heritage stretches from rural farmhouses on Saturday night to backyard rinks to cheering for local hockey successes and hockey heroes.

Owen Sound Junior Hockey History began almost one hundred and twenty years ago and is rich with championship teams, great players, and dedicated fans. 

Owen Sound's New Arena in 1938 opened a new era in Grey and Bruce counties with the first artificial ice making machine in western Ontario north of Kitchener.

Owen Sound Platers: Ray McKelvie the quiet and knowledgeable leader behind the success of the 1999 hockey team.

Pat McReavy enjoyed a long hockey career which brought him three championships, the Stanley Cup, the Allan Cup and a World Hockey Title.

Paul MacDermid, born in Chesley Ontario, through hard work and determination enjoyed a 12 year NHL career, before keeping junior hockey alive in Owen Sound by working with a group citizens to purchase the Attack OHL franchise.

"Red" Armstrong, a fiery spirited hockey player, known more for his fierce checking than his scoring prowess surprised even himself on his first NHL shift.

Red Leckie was more than a good hockey player. He played for the team, not for himself. Outside hockey, he responded when he saw a need in his community.

Southampton hockey history in the early years featured a distinct line of defense in the local arena, and stories of interesting "road" trips.

Tommy Burlington: the Greatest North American Never to Play in the NHL captured scoring titles in every league that he played, bringing comparisons to NHL greats.

Owen Sound Hockey History is rich with stories of championship teams, star hockey players, and community support.