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Cape Breton Travel Guide: #CapeBreton, The Unspoiled Summerland of America, ca. 1928.
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New Aberdeen Legion #hockey Team, #GlaceBay, #CapeBreton , 1961
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#CapeBreton hockey stars relive glory days

SYDNEY — They’ll visit old haunts, play a few rounds of golf and rekindle memories of a team that had a short stint in the now defunct World Hockey Association.

Former hockey pros Norm Ferguson and Kevin Morrison of Sydney are in San Diego this week for a reunion of the San Diego Mariners, a WHA franchise that existed from 1974-77. The WHA was the direct competition for the NHL in the 1970s until merging in 1979.

The idea of holding a reunion for the Mariners had been batted around for the past few years, but Ferguson and Morrison recently rebooted the process and started the search for their former teammates. Despite the four decades that have passed, they made contact with 28 former players from the team’s three seasons.

“We’re very fortunate that we had such a response from the guys that were interested in doing it,” said Ferguson, who served as team captain for two of the Mariners’ three seasons. “Sometimes people say, 'well we won a championship and we all got together,' but we never won a championship.

“There was a core group of guys who were there all three years. I thoroughly enjoyed my three years of hockey, and we had a competitive team in the WHA. We didn’t win anything, but we finished high in the standings and won the odd series in the playoffs, but we couldn’t beat Gordie Howe’s team in Houston or Bobby Hull’s team in Winnipeg.”

Morrison and Ferguson arrived in San Diego after the club moved from the east coast. The New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights franchise looked for greener and sunnier pastures on the west coast.

“We had a few guys who had played in the Western league, so they knew about the city,” said Morrison. “It didn’t take much for us to move out of New Jersey because we were down in the (Philadelphia) Flyers practice rink and it wasn’t a very nice place. Our fans didn’t go down. Some nights, there would be 50 people and half of them our wives.

“It looked a lot rosier going to San Diego with the owner we had from Baltimore. He was willing to make the move out there too. We had a good 8-9,000 from the start. As we got better and improved, we got it up to 12-13,000 per game.”

The Mariners boasted plenty of talent in their short span. Andre Lacroix led the team in scoring all three seasons and boasted plenty of NHL experience. The same goes for former NHL players like Wayne Rivers, Joe Noris, Harry Howell and goaltender Ernie Wakely.

There were some colourful characters to pass through as well, including Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe. The enforcer was the inspiration for the character of Ogie Ogilthorpe from the 1977 movie “Slap Shot.”

“We had a good bunch of guys who could put the puck in the net,” said Morrison. “Lacroix was only small, but he’d say ‘if I’m here, you be there’ and keep your stick on the ice. He didn’t have to tell me twice. All I had to do was protect Lacroix and he passed the puck a lot more to me.”

The Mariners’ attendance began to drop by their final season and their owner, McDonald’s magnate Ray Kroc, decided to fold. A dispersal draft was held: Morrison ended up with the Indianapolis Racers and Ferguson headed to the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite the Mariners’ short run, it was a memorable one for the Sydney hockey pros.

“I loved it, and I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything,” said Morrison.

sports@cbpost.com

On Twitter: @cbpost_sports

Former hockey pros Norm Ferguson and Kevin Morrison of Sydney are in San Diego this week for a reunion of the San Diego Mariners, a WHA franchise that existed from 1974-77. The WHA was the direct competition for the NHL in the 1970s until merging in 1979.

The idea of holding a reunion for the Mariners had been batted around for the past few years, but Ferguson and Morrison recently rebooted the process and started the search for their former teammates. Despite the four decades that have passed, they made contact with 28 former players from the team’s three seasons.

“We’re very fortunate that we had such a response from the guys that were interested in doing it,” said Ferguson, who served as team captain for two of the Mariners’ three seasons. “Sometimes people say, 'well we won a championship and we all got together,' but we never won a championship.

“There was a core group of guys who were there all three years. I thoroughly enjoyed my three years of hockey, and we had a competitive team in the WHA. We didn’t win anything, but we finished high in the standings and won the odd series in the playoffs, but we couldn’t beat Gordie Howe’s team in Houston or Bobby Hull’s team in Winnipeg.”

Morrison and Ferguson arrived in San Diego after the club moved from the east coast. The New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights franchise looked for greener and sunnier pastures on the west coast.

“We had a few guys who had played in the Western league, so they knew about the city,” said Morrison. “It didn’t take much for us to move out of New Jersey because we were down in the (Philadelphia) Flyers practice rink and it wasn’t a very nice place. Our fans didn’t go down. Some nights, there would be 50 people and half of them our wives.

“It looked a lot rosier going to San Diego with the owner we had from Baltimore. He was willing to make the move out there too. We had a good 8-9,000 from the start. As we got better and improved, we got it up to 12-13,000 per game.”

The Mariners boasted plenty of talent in their short span. Andre Lacroix led the team in scoring all three seasons and boasted plenty of NHL experience. The same goes for former NHL players like Wayne Rivers, Joe Noris, Harry Howell and goaltender Ernie Wakely.

There were some colourful characters to pass through as well, including Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe. The enforcer was the inspiration for the character of Ogie Ogilthorpe from the 1977 movie “Slap Shot.”

“We had a good bunch of guys who could put the puck in the net,” said Morrison. “Lacroix was only small, but he’d say ‘if I’m here, you be there’ and keep your stick on the ice. He didn’t have to tell me twice. All I had to do was protect Lacroix and he passed the puck a lot more to me.”

The Mariners’ attendance began to drop by their final season and their owner, McDonald’s magnate Ray Kroc, decided to fold. A dispersal draft was held: Morrison ended up with the Indianapolis Racers and Ferguson headed to the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite the Mariners’ short run, it was a memorable one for the Sydney hockey pros.

“I loved it, and I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything,” said Morrison.

sports@cbpost.com

On Twitter: @cbpost_sports
http://www.capebretonpost.com/sports/hockey/cape-breton-hockey-stars-relive-glory-days-16733/
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17/10/2017
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#Lingan’s #CapeBreton Doug Petrie had passions for baseball and #hockey

John White | Cape Breton Sports Scrapbook

According to old-time newspaper clippings and comments from those who knew him, the late Doug Petrie could run like a deer on the baseball field and was a speed merchant in the hockey rink. Moreover, those sources declare that he was as decent a human being as there was anywhere. Sadly, a tragic auto accident in mid-August of 1950, at Arnold’s Bridge on Highway 28 in South Bar, claimed his life. He was just 27 years old.

Originally from Lingan, Petrie later lived in nearby New Waterford, and his passions were baseball and hockey. During the 1940s, he played centrefield for a number of teams, including the Lingan Hustlers, as well as three Cape Breton Colliery League clubs — the Dominion Hawks, the New Waterford Athletics and the New Waterford Dodgers. He pitched a bit, and was good at it, however, centrefield was where he loved to be.

“Dougie wasn’t too fussy for pitching. He’d rather play the outfield. He was so gosh darn fast that centrefield was the place for him. He could cover a lot of ground and knew what he was doing. When the ball was hit, he knew just where to go.”

Those were the words of the late Leno Bresolin whom I talked with a number of years ago about Petrie. A coal miner, baseball player and contemporary, Bresolin, as his comments suggested, thought highly of his friend’s baseball skills.

Doug’s brother, Lionel, also deceased, and the original owner of Lionel’s Golf Centre located in Gardiner Mines, was a teammate of his brother on many occasions. “He was so good with the glove that he could have made it to the big leagues,” said Lionel during a discussion I had with him a decade or more ago.

Of course, during winter, a good portion of Doug Petrie’s time was spent on the ice with a hockey stick in hand. A right-winger, he participated at the junior and senior levels during the 1940s and teamed up with a couple of pretty good players — left-winger Mel Gadd and centreman Leo Fahey. The trio became known as The Kid Line, one of the finest on the island at the time, and they contributed largely to a couple of pretty good New Waterford senior teams — the Strands and the Bruins. According to reports, the threesome finished one-two-three respectively in the 1945-46 Cape Breton Senior Hockey League’s scoring race.

“Dougie was a finesse hockey player with speed. Mel was fast, too. And Fahey was a real good playmaker,” remembered Bresolin, as he described The Kid Line. “The three of them were young and they could fly.”

The Strands captured the Cape Breton Senior Hockey League title in 1946, thus becoming the first and only New Waterford team to do so. They met the Sydney Millionaires in the league final and defeated them 5-4 in the third and deciding game of the series. And what a lengthy contest it was.

“Yes, that was the long, long game,” remembered Bresolin. “It went until something like one o’clock in the morning.”

Tied at three at the end of regulation, the first extra stanza was a full 10-minute affair, as opposed to the current custom of sudden-death. The Strands scored early as Petrie’s shot found the back of the net on a pass from Gadd at the 1:35 mark. As time progressed, it appeared as though New Waterford was in control. However, late in the frame, Gadd was sent to the penalty box, and shortly afterward, with just 1:25 showing on the time clock, Sydney’s Law Power — from Johnnie LeBlanc on the power play — tied it at four, and that’s how the period ended.

From there the game went into sudden-death. And they played, and they played, and they played: 20, 40, 60, 80 minutes of extra time elapsed, and finally, the end came. The local newspaper of the day’s version of the winning goal went like this: “Leo Fahey’s rebound, with assists going to Doug Petrie and Mel Gadd, hit pay territory after two exhausted squads had gruelled through more than an hour and one half of overtime play — the final count, 5-4 New Waterford.”

Besides being an outstanding athlete, Petrie was well respected in the community. Consider the following quote from former Canadian senator and writer Al Graham’s piece that appeared in the local press shortly after Petrie’s death: “He was everybody’s friend, and everybody was his friend. In every department of athletics in which he took part, in every circle he came in contact with, his worth and popularity were attested to by his friends and fellow competitors. His name will always command respect and admiration.”

Said Bresolin when we spoke back then, “Dougie loved sports. He was also easy to get along with, and he was helpful. That was his way.”

Indeed, Leno Bresolin, Al Graham and scores of others had the utmost respect for Doug Petrie.

Doug Petrie and the Lingan Hustlers of 1941/1942. (Photos courtesy of Allister Mackenzie)
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Babe Ruth-Made in Canada: A CapeBreton Islander, Br Martin Leo "Matthias" Boutilier taught Babe Ruth everything he knew about baseball

"Martin Leo Boutilier lived his early years in Lingan, Nova Scotia, but moved to the Boston States with his parents at a young age. Either by calling or by family decision, Martin entered the Xaverian Brothers and took the name Matthias."

Full Story: http://www.cbc.ca/sportslongform/entry/babe-ruth-made-in-canada
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#NewWaterford’s Dan Poliziani #CapeBreton #NHL


Dan Poliziani, who played four games (one regular season and three playoff contests) for the 1958-59 Boston Bruins, was born in New Waterford and not Sydney or Hamilton, Ont. as various hockey references state. (Contributed)

Dan Poliziani, who played four games (one regular season and three playoff contests) for the 1958-59 Boston Bruins, was born in New Waterford and not Sydney or Hamilton, Ont. as various hockey references state. (Contributed)

For the longest time I assumed, as many others did, that the lone New Waterford-born NHLer is a chap by the name of Trevor Fahey who appeared in a game for the New York Rangers in 1964-65. However, a year or so ago, a local sports-minded individual clued me in on another gentleman with NHL credentials who might also be a native of the former coal-mining town.

Sure enough, after reaching him by telephone recently, I found out that 81-year-old Dan Poliziani, who played four games (one regular season and three playoff contests) for the 1958-59 Boston Bruins, was indeed born in New Waterford and not Sydney or Hamilton, Ont. as various hockey references state. What’s more, Polizani’s big-league debut came six years prior to Fahey’s, therefore making him the area’s first NHLer.

“I was born in New Waterford on January 8, 1935, the same day that Elvis Presely was born,” Poliziani said. His parents, Santo and Eurosia, had earlier emigrated from Italy, and the family resided on the corner of Thomas Avenue and Mahon Street. While Santo worked in the coal mines, Eurosia operated a store from their home. There were also small buildings on the property that Santo rented out to miners who used them as living quarters.

“We had a little grocery store that my mother ran,” continued Polizani, “and my dad had cabins for the miners to live in. I don’t remember much about my father, he died when I was very young, but I do remember him having Italian bocce there (a sport similar to lawn bowling that originated in Italy), and between the Scots and the Italians, who lived in the cabins, there was always contests going on in the yard.”

In the early 1940s, Santo died from tuberculosis. Eurosia, with five sons and two daughters to provide for, opted to relocate the family to Hamilton. “My mother didn’t want any of us ending up working in the coal mines so she got us out of there,” Dan Poliziani recalls. “The store was bought by a guy by the name of Metz, and he bought the cabins, as well.”

Santo Poliziani, by the way, is buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in New Waterford, and Eurosia, who lived into her 100th year, would ask son Dan to come back at different intervals to make certain her husband’s grave site was in good order.

“We were Catholic and we went to St. Agnes school,” Dan Poliziani said. “I would go back to see that the stone was still there and everything was in tip-top shape. I (last) vacationed up there about 12 years ago. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. I used to think it was such a long walk to the ocean from where I lived, but as I was older and went back, it was like only a couple of blocks away.”

Interestingly, another of the Poliziani brothers played professional sports, as well. Meco, born in New Waterford in 1937, was a member of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes from 1960 until 1963. It’s highly probable that he is the lone CFLer to come out of the town.

It was after settling in Hamilton that Dan Poliziani began playing hockey. The rink, the Barton Street Arena, was near his home, and he said he lived in the place. “I used to get up at 6 a.m and go down and jump on the ice and skate around until the man would come and chase us out of there.” He played Junior “B” in Hamilton at age 14 and in 1952 graduated to the OHA’s St. Catherine’s Teepees coached by Rudy Pilous, later the bench boss of the 1960-61 Stanley Cup champions, Chicago Blackhawks. “He was a great coach,” said Poliziani.

The following campaign, 1953-54, Poliziani was traded in mid-season to the Barrie Flyers, and wouldn’t you know it, his former team, the Teepees, went on to win the Memorial Cup that year. Nevertheless, Poliziani said getting dealt to Barrie was the best thing that ever happened to him.

“Hap Emms (a hockey pioneer and legend) was the coach in Barrie, and he took me under his wing pretty good. I was a smart-alecky kid and he toned me down. I think he made me what I was. He kept in touch, and when I turned pro, he told me how much (money) I should get. He treated me pretty good.”

In 1955-56, Poliziani suited up for the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Hockey League, and his good luck with coaches continued. That season, the legendary Punch Imlach was his mentor. “He was the greatest,” said Poliziani of Imlach. “I’m in his book. I’m on page 156 or something and he talks about the tough little Italian kid who could skate like the wind. That was my forte, that I could skate like hell.”

Poliziani lives in a small community named Conesus Lake, New York, located near Rochester. Next week he discusses his AHL career and his NHL experience in 1958-59. As well, Poliziani talks about his current occupation as a horse trainer — a passion of his that he has been involved with since he retired from hockey 50 years ago.

John White has written for several Cape Breton publications focusing on sports and lives in New Waterford.
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Glace Bay High School Hockey Team, #GlaceBay, #CapeBreton Date u/k
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