2009 Annual General Meeting

Montreal, Québec


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The Penthouse at the Holiday Inn Montreal Midtown was the location of the informal Friday night gathering where members enjoyed drinks with a beautiful sunset over McGill University as a backdrop. Thanks to host Earl Zukerman, everyone's needs were taken care of and refreshments were never beyond reach.

Like the day that was to follow, the evening was well attended by veteran members as well as first time attendees from all corners of Canada and the United States. Frank Heynsbroek of LaSalle, Ontario, showed off a wonderful antique one-piece hockey stick to the delight of many including Howard Morenz Jr. and his son Howard Morenz III and longtime SIHR member and stick expert Brian Logie. The Maritimes were again well represented by David McNeil, Marc Dallaire, Steve Leblanc, Jake Bartlett, Rheal Robichaud, Ernie and Marlene Fitzsimmons and Ron Leger with his photo albums in tow to whet the appetite of all those who have yet to visit his hockey room.

U.S. VP East Whit Bacon shared interesting samples of early hockey media guides from the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets while Utica, New York's Jim Mancuso educated the masses about all aspects of Minor-Pro hockey with his unequalled knowledge on the subject. Roger Godin, SIHR VP U.S. West of Minnesota chatted with Bill Sproule of Houghton, Michigan, and Bill Swift of Connecticut who had been in Montreal for a few days already. Anne, Peter and Paul Kitchen, were on hand with copies of Paul's fabulous Ottawa Hockey Club book, Win, Tie or Wrangle, which several people took home to add to their collections.

As one might expect, Quebec was well represented by several members. In addition to President James Milks and Executive Vice-President Jean-Patrice Martel, others included first time attendee Dan Ahmad, Quebec Nordiques expert Benoit Clairoux of Montreal, Guy Latour of Joliette and hockey historian Michel Lavigne.

Founding President Bill Fitsell led the group in song, and many who participated confirmed that they should stick to research! Many more Ontarians were in attendance from all parts of the province, but the winner of the longest distance travelled award goes to Jamie Vann Struth of British Columbia

Saturday brought an early start to a day filled with business, research presentations and hockey talk. The fifty plus members made their way into the Canadiens media room which served as the meeting place.

After opening words by hosts Earl Zukerman and Carl Lavigne, members heard from guest speaker Rejean Houle who recalled his playing days from junior in northern Quebec to his four Stanley Cup wins with Montreal and his time with the Quebec Nordiques of the WHA. Members each took a moment to introduce themselves during the Roll Call, at which time many first time attendees such as Nicolas Chabot and Normand Laplante were welcomed by the group as was guest Leo Bourgault who is the son of the former Canadiens player of the same name.

Following the Roll Call, the group dealt with business matters which included reports from the Officers and Committee members. Treasurer Paul Bruno reported on the positive financial situation of the group which has been augmented by the implementation of online payments, which President James Milks also declared a success in his report. Lloyd Davis gave an overview of the expanding membership which boasts over 380 members worldwide. Following a suggestion by Bill Fitsell, a moment of silence was observed for members Carleton "Mac" McDiarmid, John F. Pardon, Dave Talbot and Ron Boileau who passed away since the Fall Meeting.

A recess of the business meeting was declared at 11 am so that members could enjoy a tour of the Bell Centre with a visit to the locker room, the Canadiens Alumni room, the press lounge and the press gallery high above the ice before stopping by the Centennial Plaza, where member Howie Morenz Jr. was a hit with hockey fans who posed with the former player and son of the Canadiens legend in front of the bronze statue of Howie Senior. Following a group lunch at the adjoining Cage aux Sports restaurant, members headed back to the media room.

Executive Vice-President Jean-Patrice Martel kicked off the afternoon session with his paper titled How Many Frenchmen Does it Take for the Canadiens to Fly? His research, which garnered a lot of interest among Quebec media outlets, presented a fascinating analysis of the team's success with varying amounts of Quebec born players on the roster. Dave McNeil, son of former Habs goaltender Gerry McNeil, presented The Habs in the Playoffs, 1951-1954 which featured interesting data and rare photos of his father in action. Quebec member Michel Vigneault offered an insightful look at the evolution of NHL arenas and safety features with his paper Evolution of Ice Hockey Arenas: For or Against the Spectators? ahead of former NHL player and member Morris Mott who delivered Small-Town Rinks on the Canadian Prairies which outlined many simple arena buildings which dotted the Canadian West in the past century. Roger Godin, Vice-President USA West, painted a vivid picture of an early US player with his paper Frank "Coddy" Winters - Early American Superstar before the final presentation which was delivered by James Mancuso with Minor League Hockey's Greatest Teams.

Following the research presentations, author Paul Kitchen was honoured with the 2009 Brian McFarlane award for his work on Win, Tie or Wrangle: The Inside Story of the Old Ottawa Senators. Paul also won the award in 2000. Creighton Memorial Fund Committee Chair Ed Grenda briefed the group on the progress of the project, and expects to have more to announce later this summer. James Mancuso put forward a motion which was approved suggesting that SIHR create and adopt a special logo honouring the Society's 20th anniversary which will be celebrated in 2011.

Steve Leblanc and Morris Mott each took the floor to promote their bids to host the 2010 AGM in Halifax and Brandon respectively, which resulted in a tie vote. Paul Kitchen then put forward a motion which was adopted stating that the Executive board would consider the matter and chose the location at a later date.

Upon conclusion, attendees were provided with a souvenir bag compliments of Carl Lavigne and the Montreal Canadiens which contained a media guide and other souvenirs. Congratulations to Earl Zukerman and Carl for their efforts in organizing this memorable event.

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2009 Fall Meeting

Belleville, Ontario


By Monika Moravan

Autumn sun cutting a path through shedding treetops, a rainbow of leaves crunching underfoot and hockey season well under way means time for another SIHR Fall meeting.

The 2009 edition took place in Belleville, Ontario on Saturday, October 17th and was hosted by James "Hurstie" Hurst at the Belleville Club. In keeping with SIHR tradition, there was a "Meet and Greet" on Friday night. Members met in the lobby of the Clarion Inn and Suites and literally went right round the bend…to Paulo's Italian Trattoria around the corner.

The group lucked out and had a large portion of the upper restaurant to meet up with old friends and welcome newcomers to the SIHR family. After dining, members got a sneak peek at Saturday's meeting venue, the elegant Belleville Club. Hats off to new member Jeffrey Freeman who traveled from Maryland just to attend the Friday night event.

Hurstie made everyone feel at home and tended bar while members and guests mingled and looked over memorabilia, with a special focus on items relating to the 1959 Belleville McFarlands. A member from that world championship team, Wayne "Weiner" Brown was on hand to answer questions about his experiences.

Good things come to those who wait, and Belleville mayor Neil Ellis announced that the city had finally given the McFarlands their dues; a sign on Pinnacle Street, north of Moira, citing the Belleville McFarlands as Canadian and World Champions greets people heading into downtown. Another sign will be placed near the Quinte Sports Centre.

Saturday morning saw the business portion of the meeting, in typical SIHR fashion, running a bit late. Minutes from the 2008 Fall Meeting were approved as were reports from the President, Executive Vice-President, and Secretary, in addition to those from the Website and Minor Pro Committees.

A new vision for the SIHR newsletter was presented and approved, with James Kubus of Pittsburgh taking on duties as editor in chief. The newsletter will now have regional editors responsible for creating and soliciting content – James Mancuso, USA; Benoit Clairoux, Quebec and Monika Moravan, Ontario.

Details of the James Creighton Memorial were discussed, and that event will be dealt with in a future report.

In February 2008, Bill Fitsell and Ed Grenda met with Bob Hilderley of Quarry Heritage Books in Kingston, Ontario, to discuss a book idea: an anthology of articles published in SIHR's annual Hockey Research Journal. Mr. Hilderley had recently raised the idea again. Consequently, Bill Fitsell moved, seconded by Ron Leger, that SIHR endorse the proposed book project and that the executive committee appoint a committee to make the necessary arrangements for the book's publication. The motion carried.

Before adjournment, the location of the 2010 Fall Meeting was announced. The event will be hosted by the Hockey Hall of Fame at their recently opened archives and resource centre, located in the Mastercard centre for Hockey Excellence in Toronto's west end (Etobicoke).

Following a catered lunch served on site members were treated to four presentations. The first, 'A Brief History of the 1910-11 Belleville Professional Hockey Team' by Glen Goodhand was delivered by Bill Fitsell as Glen had a prior commitment. One of the tidbits was that it was the Eastern Ontario Professional Hockey League that switched from two-30 minute segments to the still used three-20 minute periods.

Benoit Clairoux, who literally wrote the book on the Quebec Nordiques make excellent use of visuals to delve into 'The Battle of Quebec, 30 Years Later.' According to his research Glenn Cole of the Montreal Gazette was the first writer to use the term 'Battle of Quebec" and interestingly enough, the three-minute standing ovation given to the Nordiques in their first game at the fabled Forum was not shown on television.

James Mancuso's passion for the minor pro game was in full force when he presented 'The Stanley Cup of the Minor Leagues.' He explained the history and naming of championship hardware for dozens of North American leagues, past and present.

Todd Denault gave members an insider's look at the research and negotiation that went into getting his book 'Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey' published. This is the first in-depth biography of the goaltending legend and comes out 50 years after Plante donned the first goalie mask in an NHL game.

In tribute to another 50th anniversary, Peter Lockyer's documentary 'Celebrating Hockey History: The Story of the 1959 Belleville McFarlands' was screened with Lockyer present to answer questions. He received a standing ovation.

The highlight of the event was having three McFarlands present. David Jones, Keith Macdonald, and Lionel Botly answered questions and entertained attendees with their anecdotes of playing in the Canadian and World championships.

The 'Q & A' session came to an immediate halt when Macdonald rose from his chair and announced, ""Sorry folks, I'm a farmer, and I have chores to do."

As the 32 souls on hand dispersed, a group of 21 toured the Memorial Arena. Following dinner, a smaller group headed out to watch the Belleville Bulls defeat the Kitchener Rangers in an overtime thriller. Special thanks to the Bulls organization for special treatment.

Meet and Greet Photos

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Meeting Photos

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