A total of 48 members made their way to Midland and Penetanguishene, Ont., for SIHR's 23rd AGM. The weekend began Friday, May 23 with a tour of the Midland Sports Hall of Fame. The group was then addressed by Larry Bellisle, past president of the OHA and tour director for Team Canada 1972, and Mike Dubeau, former Oshawa General and roommate with Bobby Orr. Host Waxy Gregoire organized a "jersey meet-and-greet," with prizes for the most unusual hockey sweaters. First prize went to Rheal Robichaud of Dieppe, N.B., for his vintage Rick Lanz Canucks "Flying V" model.
On Saturday, president Jean-Patrice Martel took note of many books published by SIHR members over the past year. Work was underway to add a blog to the website, and efforts had been renewed to get J.G.A. Creighton inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This summer, Normand Laplante of Library and Archives Canada was set to begin finding a repository for SIHR's archival materials. Martel expressed concerns about the progress and composition of SIHR's Constitution Committee and moved that an additional five members, not from Ontario and who do not regularly attend meetings, be added. The motion was defeated.
Vice-president Paul Bruno reported on a trip to Arizona, during which he contacted the offices of the Society for American Baseball Research. He had also spoken with Jim Devellano about the Creighton nomination efforts and acquired some insights into how the nomination process works. SIHR's hockey pool, won by Aubrey Ferguson, raised money for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. Secretary Lloyd Davis reported a tally of 524 paid-up members, up 12% over the year before and the first time there were more than 500 at the time of an AGM. Treasurer Iain Fyffe put forward a detailed 11- page report. The Society ran at a deficit of about $1,500 in 2013 and a budget drawn up by the officers for 2014 projected a similar shortfall of $1,700. There was sufficient money in reserve to cover these shortfalls.
Martel, feeling he had lost the confidence of the assembly, declined nomination for a second term as president, making him the first in SIHR history not to serve in that role for at least four years. Paul Bruno was nominated to fill the vacant presidency, while Lloyd Davis accepted a nomination to take Bruno's place. Wayne Geen was nominated to fill the void at secretary, leaving a spot for a new VP Ontario. Gregoire took that position. The remainder of the board - treasurer Fyffe, VPs Benoît Clairoux (Quebec), R.J. Pratt (Canada West), Ron Leger (Atlantic), Roger Godin (USA West) and Jim Mancuso (USA East), and directors-at-large James Milks (Canada) and Patrick Houda (International) were returned by acclamation.
Craig Bowlsby of Vancouver received the Brian McFarlane Award for his books 1913: The Year they Invented the Future of Hockey and Empire of Ice. Clairoux provided a slideshow on the site of the Fall Meeting, Sherbrooke, Que., and Fredericton, N.B., was chosen as the site of the 2015 AGM. SIHR authorized an Oral History Research Committee to interview and record the memories of hockey personalities. A committee will compile a book documenting top-level North American hockey prior to the NHL becoming the sole major league. Another will study how webmaster James Milks might be compensated for his work on the website, as well as how best to address needs related to the site. A fundraising committee was authorized, and the SIHR blog was approved.
Hall of Famer Pierre Pilote was an entertaining after-lunch speaker, and the afternoon featured a quartet of presentations. Andrew Ross of Guelph, Ont., presented "That Was the Era of Capone and Jake Lingle: Networks of Sports, Media and Vice in the Early History of the NHL"; Kevin Shea of Ajax, Ont., spoke about the Toronto Young Rangers; Marc Durand of Stoneham, Que., spoke on the Quebec Bulldogs. Running the anchor lap were the trio of Martel, Houda and Carl Gidén, with a précis of their new book, On the Origin of Hockey. Thanks to Greg Oliver, videos of these presentations are available on the new SIHR video page on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/sihrhockey/videos). Saturday wrapped up with a visit to the Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame, and the Fitsell Cup game was played on Sunday morning.