Legendary teams hit milestone anniversaries

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By Tom Annelin
As we head into a new year, it will feature the anniversaries of a couple of significant accomplishments by past local clubs.
The year 2013 will mark the 65th anniversary of the Port Arthur West End Bruins capturing the Memorial Cup, emblematic of Canadian junior hockey supremacy.
Back in 1948 the Bruins won the second Memorial Cup crown for the region following in the footsteps of the Fort William Great War Vets of 1922.
After defeating Lethbridge to claim the Western Canadian crown in seven games, Port Arthur went on to sweep the Barrie Flyers in four straight games in the final, which was contested at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
That talent-laden Bruins squad featured a number of players who would go on to the National Hockey League, including Dave Creighton, Danny Lewicki, Rudy Migay and Benny Woit.
Meanwhile the city’s legacy in senior hockey is second to none across the Dominion.
One of those powerful local senior clubs was the 1987-88 Thunder Bay Twins, who will be celebrating their 25th anniversary as national champions in 2013.
The Twins, coached by Bill McDonald and built by general manager and local hockey icon the late Gary Cook, rolled to the Western title posting an impressive playoff record of 15 victories against only two defeats. They then went on to capture the Twins’ fourth of five Allan Cups as they put the broom to the Charlottetown Islanders, taking the best-of-seven affair in four straight games and outscoring their opponents 33-10.

Continuing to Win: As Boston College’s Jerry York set an NCAA record for most career coaching wins Saturday with 925, George Gwozdecky also continues to rack up the victories behind the bench.
The Thunder Bay native and head coach of the University of Denver Pioneers won his 582nd game at the university level the same night as he drew closer to the 600-win plateau after Denver blanked Boston University 6-0.
Gwozdecky, who holds the distinction as the only person in history to win NCAA championships as a player, assistant coach and head coach, will enter the new year 11th all-time in coaching victories. He currently boasts a career record of 582-382-83.
Former Bemidji State coach and Fort Frances native Bob Peters is sixth in career wins in the same category with 744.

All-Star: No skater heading into the Federal Hockey League all-star game Wednesday is hotter than Trevor Karasiewicz.
The FHL player of the month for November is well on his way to winning the honour for December.
Heading into a New Year’s Eve contest vs. the Danbury Whalers, the 30-year-old forward with the Williamsport Outlaws is a runaway leader atop the league scoring race having amassed 66 points in just 31 games.
The former SIJHL most valuable player is 16 points clear of the No. 2 scorer in the league and is also second in FHL plus-minus at plus-28.
He has racked up 18 points in his last four games while accumulating nine goals and 24 assists in 13 games this month alone.
The FHL all-star game will pit the defending league champion Outlaws against the top players from the other five teams in the league in a matchup that will be played outdoors at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Penn., where the squad has all their home contests this season.

TBayTel Internet site: The fate of the NHL season could very well be decided within the next few days.
Should the league and NHLPA fail to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, thus causing the postponement of the 2012-13 campaign, there is a group that feels the Stanley Cup should still be awarded this season regardless.
Visit the TBayTel Internet site of the week at www.spiritchallengecup.ca to learn more on what they have in mind.

(Tom Annelin’s column appears Mondays in The Chronicle-Journal. You can contact Tom at tommyhockey@tbaytel.net)

(Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 print edition of The Chronicle-Journal)