Owen Sound Attack: 
Extends Region's Rich Hockey History

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


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The Great Lakes Raconteur

This week marked an historic occasion in this region. The Owen Sound Platers played what may be their last game in the city. 

Although everyone hopes that Major Junior hockey will remain, it is unlikely that a new team would be called the Platers. The Platers will likely join a host of other teams who were fan favourites, but, for one reason or another, passed on to become a part of this region' s sports history. 

In the 1930s, the Chesley Colts and the Durham Yellow Jackets dominated their leagues and drew large crowds wherever they played. In the early 1940s, the Owen Sound Orphans were a powerhouse in Ontario Intermediate Hockey. 

Perhaps the Orphans' most famous player was Harry Lumley, who honed his skills as a netminder with the Orphans before graduating to a Hall of Fame career in the National Hockey League. When the Orphans faded into hockey history their place in the Owen Sound arena was taken by the Mercurys. 

The Mercurys gained fame far beyond the Grey and Bruce region capturing a Canadian senior championship. But even the star-studded Mercurys could not last forever. The advent of television marked the beginning of the end for senior hockey and ultimately the Mercurys folded, but not before leaving a huge imprint on sports history in this area.

The players who have worn the Platers jersey will join an illustrious club of athletes who have worn the colours of area hockey teams. Names like Dan Snyder, Kirk Maltby, Andrew Brunette, Jamie Storr, Kevin Weekes, Wayne Primeau, Adam Mair, Bryan Kazarian and Curtis Sanford will take their place in the memories of this generation of area hockey fans. They will join the favourites of our "fathers' and grandfathers' eras in the locker room of hockey history in this region. 

It was players like Barney Stanley, Mickey McKay, and the incomparable "Cyclone" Taylor who were the first to bring recognition from the rest of the world to this region. In the 1920s future professional stars like "Cooney" Weiland, "Butch" Keeling, Norm Locking, and Benny Grant made the Owen Sound Greys a team that was feared by their opponents as they captured not one, but two Canadian Junior titles (1924 and 1927). Their successes brought professional hockey scouts to the Grey and Bruce region searching for hockey talent to play on teams across Canada and the United States. 

cooney weiland"Cooney" Weiland - Paul White's Historic Sports Photo Collection
butch keelingMelville "Butch" Keeling - Paul White's Historic Sports Photo Collection

In the 1930s Owen Sound natives Pat McReavy and "Buck" Jones spread the word about the abilities of hockey players from this region across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. McReavy played for a World Champion team and Jones played in England and later toured Europe with an all-star team. Both went on to careers in professional hockey.

buck jonesAlvin "Buck" Jones - Paul White's Historic Sports Photo Collection

In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the legend of this region as a hockey hotbed grew even larger. Owen Sound natives "Red" Henry and Les Binkley achieved recognition as brilliant goalies in professional ranks. The Mercurys led by talented players such Buck Forslund. Doug Gillespie, Bob Gilson. Harry Kazarian, "Red" Leckie, Bill McComb and the incomparable Tommy Burlington struck fear into the hearts of the fans and players from opposing teams. 

Despite the fame achieved by area teams and their players this region has lately been maligned as not being a great hockey region. Therefore, it was ironic that in the Platers last game it was two Owen Sound players who stole the spotlight. Curtis Sanford played a brilliant game in goal. In fact. it seemed that he was determined that his last junior hockey game would be a win for his hometown and Curtis was not going to allow anything, or anyone. to get in the way of a victory. Bryan Kazarian, the third generation from his family to wear the colours of an Owen Sound hockey team, topped his outstanding play by scoring what may be the last goal ever by an Owen Sound Plater. 

The Platers may be passing into history, but the exploits of their players will live on in the memories of hockey fans. Let-s hope when the next hockey season begins, a new chapter in the hockey history of this region will be written with a new Owen Sound team in the OHL.

OF COURSE, a new team did skate in the OHL, the Platers franchise remained, due in large part, to the loyal fans of the area, and the Attack became a hockey reality.

A version of "Owen Sound Attack: Extends Region's Rich Hockey History" originally appeared in my Local History column in the March 24, 2000 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.

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