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The Truro District Hockey League’s last hurrah!


On Boxing Day, 1975, former Truro District Hockey League players rose to the occasion.

“It was a great fundraiser for minor hockey,” Johnny Hutchinson, a coach and one of the organizers, recalled. “We had a real large crowd. The camaraderie was great and there was no one who refused to come and play. It was really nice to see all those former Truro District Hockey League players on the ice again at Colchester Legion Stadium.”

Hutchinson was again one of the organizers for a league reunion held May 9, 1992.

“Part of the reception at Keddy’s was videoed by Brian Skinner,” Hutchinson, 75, of Valley, recalled. “Later, we added film of a district league game between North River and Hilden to the video.”

Two weeks ago, 11 former TDHL players gathered at Fletcher’s Restaurant, myself included. A lot of reminiscing took place during breakfast. The topic of holding a TDHL reunion was also discussed. It could be the Truro District Hockey League’s last hurrah!

Hutchinson, the scoring champion in 1959-60 as a member of the Hilden Owls and who later coached the Truro TSN Bearcats to four Maritime senior championships, offered to help.

“If you decide to go further with holding a district hockey league reunion, give me a call,” Hutchinson said. “There will be a lot of work to do but I’ll be glad to help out.”

Others also spoke up.

“I think it is a real good idea,” Eric Lynds, 81, of North River and a former North River Aces star, said. “All the guys are really enthused. It will certainly take some work but it certainly would be worth it to get the district hockey league players together one more time.”

The league is familiar to people across Canada and the United States.

“Whenever Bible Hill Dairymen were playing I would be there watching,” Aileen Burbidge, 94, of Oakland, California and originally from Bible Hill, told me by telephone.

“It was a big deal and even if it was real cold there were always big crowds at the district league games. The Dairymen name came from my father’s dairy. My father, Jack Kerr, also worked for Ben’s Bread and he and Harold Archibald had a lot to do with the district hockey league and the Bible Hill team. When Brookfield came in the league there was a great rivalry between them and Bible Hill.

“I remember hockey players coming to our home at 12 Pictou Road after the games. My mother (Annie) would make them hot coco. I still recall Dairymen players Leo Johnson, Burchell MacDonald and Doug Pender. Lloyd Blair and his brothers were a big part of North River’s team and I remember Charlie Shearer played for Hilden.”

Gary Moore, a former Onslow Imperials forward, also lives in California. Vernon Lynds, of the Aces, lives in Florida. Billy Butcher, also of the Aces, resides in British Columbia. Former players Vaughn Briggs, Nelson Gauthier, Harvey Stoliker and Freddie Davis live in Ontario.

The five Matheson brothers, once fixtures with Brookfield Elks teams, Johnny, Hughie, Win, Gordon (Gully) and Vaughan (Gab) all reside in Brookfield. Hughie Carter, 89, of Brookfield, who played for the 1946-47 champion Brookfield Elks team, is the oldest living former player researched.

The Truro District Hockey League was formed in late 1933 and played out of the Flemming Arena (later to be known as the Truro Forum) up until fire destroyed the structure and halted the league more then 52 years ago in January of 1963.

Although a reunion planning committee has not been formed, discussions are ongoing and the (living) players list has reached 100. Price quotes received for 100 up to 250 dinners (includes facility, sound system and necessities) -- indicate tickets would have to sell at $20 to $25 per person to offset costs. Should sponsorship funds be secured, ticket prices could decrease.

The TDHL earned a great following and carved out a great history. The highly competitive community against community league will probably never be duplicated.

Eric Lynds perhaps said it best.

“It certainly would be worth it to get the district hockey league players together one more time.”

Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears on Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

Editor’s Note: Second of a two-part column on the once popular Truro District Hockey League.

“It was a great fundraiser for minor hockey,” Johnny Hutchinson, a coach and one of the organizers, recalled. “We had a real large crowd. The camaraderie was great and there was no one who refused to come and play. It was really nice to see all those former Truro District Hockey League players on the ice again at Colchester Legion Stadium.”

Hutchinson was again one of the organizers for a league reunion held May 9, 1992.

“Part of the reception at Keddy’s was videoed by Brian Skinner,” Hutchinson, 75, of Valley, recalled. “Later, we added film of a district league game between North River and Hilden to the video.”

Two weeks ago, 11 former TDHL players gathered at Fletcher’s Restaurant, myself included. A lot of reminiscing took place during breakfast. The topic of holding a TDHL reunion was also discussed. It could be the Truro District Hockey League’s last hurrah!

Hutchinson, the scoring champion in 1959-60 as a member of the Hilden Owls and who later coached the Truro TSN Bearcats to four Maritime senior championships, offered to help.

“If you decide to go further with holding a district hockey league reunion, give me a call,” Hutchinson said. “There will be a lot of work to do but I’ll be glad to help out.”

Others also spoke up.

“I think it is a real good idea,” Eric Lynds, 81, of North River and a former North River Aces star, said. “All the guys are really enthused. It will certainly take some work but it certainly would be worth it to get the district hockey league players together one more time.”

The league is familiar to people across Canada and the United States.

“Whenever Bible Hill Dairymen were playing I would be there watching,” Aileen Burbidge, 94, of Oakland, California and originally from Bible Hill, told me by telephone.

“It was a big deal and even if it was real cold there were always big crowds at the district league games. The Dairymen name came from my father’s dairy. My father, Jack Kerr, also worked for Ben’s Bread and he and Harold Archibald had a lot to do with the district hockey league and the Bible Hill team. When Brookfield came in the league there was a great rivalry between them and Bible Hill.

“I remember hockey players coming to our home at 12 Pictou Road after the games. My mother (Annie) would make them hot coco. I still recall Dairymen players Leo Johnson, Burchell MacDonald and Doug Pender. Lloyd Blair and his brothers were a big part of North River’s team and I remember Charlie Shearer played for Hilden.”

Gary Moore, a former Onslow Imperials forward, also lives in California. Vernon Lynds, of the Aces, lives in Florida. Billy Butcher, also of the Aces, resides in British Columbia. Former players Vaughn Briggs, Nelson Gauthier, Harvey Stoliker and Freddie Davis live in Ontario.

The five Matheson brothers, once fixtures with Brookfield Elks teams, Johnny, Hughie, Win, Gordon (Gully) and Vaughan (Gab) all reside in Brookfield. Hughie Carter, 89, of Brookfield, who played for the 1946-47 champion Brookfield Elks team, is the oldest living former player researched.

The Truro District Hockey League was formed in late 1933 and played out of the Flemming Arena (later to be known as the Truro Forum) up until fire destroyed the structure and halted the league more then 52 years ago in January of 1963.

Although a reunion planning committee has not been formed, discussions are ongoing and the (living) players list has reached 100. Price quotes received for 100 up to 250 dinners (includes facility, sound system and necessities) -- indicate tickets would have to sell at $20 to $25 per person to offset costs. Should sponsorship funds be secured, ticket prices could decrease.

The TDHL earned a great following and carved out a great history. The highly competitive community against community league will probably never be duplicated.

Eric Lynds perhaps said it best.

“It certainly would be worth it to get the district hockey league players together one more time.”

Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears on Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

Editor’s Note: Second of a two-part column on the once popular Truro District Hockey League.

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