TRURO, N.S. – An enthusiastic Danny Joseph telephoned recently to advise that the 1968 Truro Trojans football team would be inducted into the Colchester County Sports Hall of Fame.
“The Trojans were the Maritime midget football champions,” Joseph, a longtime Truro Sport
Heritage Society board member, said. “They were quite a team back 50 years ago. The induction will take place at the Marigold Cultural Centre Friday night, Nov. 9.”
Harold Purdy, who has lived in New Glasgow for 40 years and who had a 30-year career with the Department of Justice Correctional Services, was an offensive centre and defensive lineman with the Trojans.
“Most of us who played with the 1968 Trojans had started in peewee football,” Purdy, 67, recalled. “By the time we got to midget football we would have been around 16.”
Purdy said the team, under head coach Gerry Ritcey and assistant coaches Lik MacDonald and Pat Saxton, played six regular-season games and three playoff games, finishing with a record of 7-0-2. “The Nova Scotia and Maritime midget final was played at Saint Mary’s Stadium,” Purdy said. “I remember we won 13-12 over Halifax Kingfishers. I also remember that I injured my shoulder in that game. At the time – it was big-time. We played like we were playing for the Grey Cup.”
Purdy recalled exceptional players and good coaching.
“Although I don’t think any of our players went on to university football, we certainly had some very good players – guys like Paul Price, Butch Byard, Steve Johnson, Danny Goodspeed, Tommy Burlock, Dave Fulton, and the Conrad brothers – Dave and Doug. We had good coaching, I feel that played a big part in our success.”
Dave Conrad, who worked for 42 years with the Truro Daily News, covering sports for 15 years, reflected back.
“I would have been 15 at the time I played with the Trojans; I played offensive end. What I remember as clear as a bell is practicing at a field where the Truro fire station is now. There was enough light from the street lights to practice at night. Our winning the Maritime championship helped local football, shortly after, they decided to try high school football.”
Steve Johnson, a Truro resident and a retired letter carrier with Canada Post, was the
team’s star quarterback.
“I don’t think we would have won the championship without Paul Price,” Johnson, 67, said. “Paul was an outstanding halfback, he could run a power sweep, he could run off tackle up the middle – Paul was a big, strong athlete. One memory I have is that coach Jed Ritcey really worked us hard during practices. By the end of the season I think Jed had us in better shape
than the other teams. We were in incredible shape for the playoffs.”
Mike Swail has been back living in Truro for 10 years following a teaching career that led him to points in the far North and British Columbia.
“I haven’t seen any of these former teammates in basically 40 years,” Swail, 67, a halfback, said. “I’m really looking forward to the induction, this has caught me by surprise. When you look back, the football was a great experience – I still think of the coaches Jed Ritcey, Lik MacDonald and Pat Saxton. There was great camaraderie with all the players.”
Price, a longtime Sydney businessman, returned my call from Florida.
“I’m very, very pleased about the induction – I’m really looking forward to being there,” the former star halfback said. “I started reflecting on our team and how football has progressed in Truro since. We were a pretty good team, we won the Maritime championship, we got jackets with our names on them. I hope this induction carries on to a gathering in a restaurant or this sort of thing – it’s going to be really great getting together with these teammates and catching up.”
Purdy, acting as a liaison, has been able to contact 14 of the 23 players. Hoping to track down a few more – Purdy can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Besides the Trojans – the night will include several other outstanding inductions incuding Terry Baker (football), Steve Locke (fastpitch softball and golf), Sue Kay (hockey) and Becky Bell Routledge (fastpitch softball).
Wow, what a lineup! Be sure to underline the date Nov. 9.
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Thursdays in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.