TRURO, N.S. – Brooks, Alta., is two hours east of Calgary. During a recent trip west, and getting to talk to Mike Boyd, it was truly a reminder of a great moment in sports history.
Boyd, a resident of Brooks, was a star centre with Truro TSN Bearcats in the spring of 1998, the year the team hoisted the coveted Allan Cup. The huge final game victory took place at Colchester Legion Stadium before approximately 2,800 lively fans. Twenty years have vanished rather quickly, but for Boyd, it seems like yesterday.
“I’ll never forget it – winning the Allan Cup was a big accomplishment,” Boyd recalled. “For many years those bus rides all over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and we played three years in Allan Cup playdowns across the country.
To get to win and hoist the Allan Cup on home ice in front of our fans, friends and family, it was a perfect way to end senior hockey in Truro.”
A short time after the TSN Bearcats won the Allan Cup, Boyd left Nova Scotia for Alberta.
“Unfortunately, when you move away you lose contact with a lot of people,” he said. “But, you never forget. Stu and Rene Rath took me in, they treated me like family. I will always be grateful for what Stu and his family did for me. I still think of lots of people from the team who played big parts; general managers Jim Foley and Larry Anthony, John Hutchinson, John Kibyuk, Gerald Marshall, John and Shawn Toms and Kelly, our trainer.
“I played with so many great guys over the years, especially my two long-time linemates, Kelly Kolke and Rodney MacIntosh. Our trip to Holland is a great memory, we got to travel to Europe and represent Canada. That will always be really special.”
Anthony, who was the TSN Bearcats co-general manager with Foley, recalled Boyd’s style of play.
“Mike was a smooth skating forward with a lot of ability to score. Mike was a great playmaker, he led by example and he went about his business in a professional manner. Mike Boyd was one of a handful of hockey players who put in a lot of time to finally bring the Allan Cup to Truro.”
Boyd grew up in Fraser’s Mills, Antigonish County, the son of an outstanding hockey player, Archie Boyd. Before playing seven seasons for Truro, he played junior for Antigonish Bulldogs and varsity hockey at St. F.X. Employed a number of years in Brooks with a dairy, Dairyland, Mike has coached minor hockey for many years, from atom up to bantam.
Mike and his wife Heather have two sons in minor hockey, Luke, 15, plays midget while Drew, 12, is in his final season of peewee. Mike continues to play recreation hockey and the family attends Brooks Bandits junior A games.
* * * *
Paul Bigelow, of North River, made the trip to Fredericton this week to watch the University Cup national tournament. Although Bigelow will be keeping his eye on ST. F.X. and Acadia, he has a special interest in a young defenceman with the Alberta Golden Bears.
“Ben Carroll is the son of my first cousin James Carroll,” Bigelow said. “James grew up in Stewiacke near where I lived. James went to Alberta in the 1970s – they lived just outside Edmonton. Ben played his minor hockey there, he went on to play major junior with Edmonton Oil Kings when they won the Memorial Cup.”
The national event, March 15-18, takes place at UNB’s Aiken University Centre.
* * * *
The Yarmouth Mariners edged Truro Bearcats 2-0 Thursday night in Yarmouth in the opening game of the Eastlink South Division best-of-seven Maritime Hockey League divisional semifinal series. Game 2 is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
Hockey fans shared thoughts on the series.
“About this time of year we’re all expecting (coach) Shawn Evans to pull off some of his magic,” former hockey star Bob Crowell, of Truro, said. “I’d like to see the Bearcats come through.”
Keith Fisher, of Alton, likes Truro’s goaltending. He also applauded team players Campbell Pickard, Cameron MacLeod, Dylan Burton, Riley Baggs, Karter Renouf, Ryan Porter, Luke Macmillan, Curtis Heffernan, Daniel Little and others.
“I bet we’ll have one big crowd Saturday night,” Fisher said. “This is going to be some series.”
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.