Thursday, March 15, 2012

Triangle Hockey League's 60th Birthday

Legend has it that Victor E. Lee established the Triangle Hockey League, also, back in the day, known as “the biggest little hockey league in Saskatchewan”, in the fall of 1951, which makes it a full 60 years-old this year. Legend also has it that the Triangle Hockey League is one of the oldest, if no THE oldest, Senior Hockey Leagues in the province. Victor was the league’s first President and remained in that capacity until the end of the 1958 season. From the inception of the league until the end of the 1982-83 THL season the Victor Lee Trophy was presented to the Champions of the Triangle Hockey League. In 1983 the thirty-year-old well-worn trophy was retired by the league and donated to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. It was replaced by the Todd Memorial Trophy which is still awarded to the Champions of the Triangle Hockey League.
According to the History section of the Triangle Hockey League’s website the participating teams in that inaugural 1951-52 season were Fairlight, Wawota, Kennedy, Kipling, Windthorst, Glenavon and Montmartre along the northern railway line or Highway #16 (now #48); and Redvers, Carlyle, Arcola, Kisbey, Stoughton, Creelman, Fillmore and Sedley along the southern railway line, or #33 Highway with the north lines and the south lines creating the sides of the triangle.
The Kipling Royals were charter members of the league and the Royals also hold the record for icing a team for the most consecutive years, (1951-2002), of the many, many teams that have competed in the THL over its long history. Since its beginning the league has migrated over the south eastern part of the province and there have been over thirty different communities that have entered a team in the league at one time or another. Currently there are eight teams in the Triangle Hockey League and they are: the Bredenbury Cougars, the Churchbridge Imperials, the Esterhazy Flyers, the Moosomin Rangers, the Ochapawace Thunder, the Rocanville Tigers and the Whitewood Orioles.
The Kipling Royals competed in the league for a full thirty years before they won their first THL Championship exactly thirty years ago in the 1981-82 season. Especially at this time of year, (February-March-April), there is an acute awareness of the absence of a Senior hockey team in Kipling. Right now, all we have are memories of Glory Days long past. The Kipling Royals competed in the Triangle Hockey League for fifty consecutive years and won the championship five times and it is this writer’s opinion that a community of over a thousand population with a fine facility and a great history in sports should be icing a Senior hockey team, too.
For reasons too many to mention in this short column the Royals failed to ice a team for the last ten or so hockey seasons. As a former fan, player, executive member and manager of the team I am fully aware of the hard work, financial obstacles and sacrifices that are required to put a competitive team together. That said these obstacles can be overcome. I am encouraging any dialogue that may result in bringing a Senior Hockey Club back to Kipling. It’s long overdue.
In an effort to facilitate this discussion an Alumni Night has been booked for the evening of the 10th of March at the good ol’ Kipling Arena. There will be a hockey game at 8:00pm between the Kipling Royals Hockey Legends, (hopefully many members of the 1981-82 Championship squad), and the members of the 1992-93 Kipling Royals THL Champions with a social to follow. All proceeds will be going to the Rink Management Committee. Spread the word.
”Call them pros, call them mercenaries -- but in fact they are just grown-up kids who have learned on the frozen creek or flooded corner lot that hockey is the greatest thrill of all.” - Lester Patrick (1883-1960).

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