Twenty Fifth Anniversary Meeting
Kingston, Ontario, May 27 to 29, 2016
SIHR's silver anniversary Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in the city of its naissance, Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, May 28. Founding members and honourary presidents Ed Grenda and Bill Fitsell co-hosted the event with an organizational assist going to president Jean-Patrice Martel.
The celebrations started off in the Atrium of the Confederation Place Hotel on Friday night with the traditional jersey meet and greet. Kingston was host to a hockey stick summit so it is fitting the evening was graced with a selection of aged cudgels harkening back to the hornbeam era. Jeff Klassen brought his treasure trove of sticks all the way from Washington state. Gary and Germaine Morse travelled up from Roxbury, Vermont with part of their carefully curated collection. Another collector, Brian Galama braved rush hour traffic from Hamilton, Ontario to see the ancient sticks. Lifting all that lumber worked up a sweet tooth and hockey aficionados know SIHR takes the cake. We were fortunate to have all three of our honourary presidents — Ed Grenda, Bill Fitsell and Brian McFarlane on hand to cut into one featuring the 25th anniversary logo.
The AGM was held in Memorial Hall on the upper level of Kingston City Hall on Saturday and 40 members were in attendance, plus four guests: Brian Galama, Hamilton, Ontario; Jeff Klassen, Olympia, Washington; Mika Kaloudas, Kingston, Ontario, and Gary Morse, Roxbury, Vermont. Led by Ed Grenda, the group observed a moment of silence for deceased members followed by Eric Zweig's tribute to James Duplacey. He admitted that other than his father's passing, only the deaths of Duplacey and Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek had rattled him so much. "I don't remember when we first met, can't recall the last time, but I will never forget him," said Zweig. He was most impressed by Duplacey's knowledge of subjects other than hockey including music, United States civil war, General Custer, and the Titanic. Zweig eulogized Duplacey as big and loud but not a braggart, someone who loved to share whatever sheaves of information his research had gleaned and shared the fortune of being writers married to "someone with a steady day job."
The Business Agenda saw the sun set on the end of SIHR's old constitution and rise on the new one. A motion was carried to accept the new constitution as put forth by the constitution committee: chair Iain Fyffe, members Colin Abbott, Helen Edwards, James Milks, Ed Norris and Jean-Patrice Martel as ex-officio member in his role as president. Past president James Milks bridged the gap between the two eras saying the committee of experienced members spanned North America. "I firmly believe it will help SIHR move forward and avoid motion paralysis. The new one is a good piece of work," said Milks.
President Martel went over the results of SIHR's inaugural all members election. He noted there were 214 participants, which is 42.2% of SIHR members. He also explained the vote verification process, showed how ranked balloting would work in the event of more than two candidates running for the same position. There were no requests for paper ballots.
Reports were presented from all members of the executive committee and the following committees and editors: Hockey Publication Bibliography; Hockey Origins Research Group; Bulletin, and Journal.
The journal report from Kevin Shea was introduced with the distribution of the eagerly anticipated 2014/15, volume XVIII. Shea noted the journal topics are special, minute in topic but that's SIHR's role. Who else will research and chronicle things like the Coca Cola Cup? Another journal (volume XIX) will be released at the 2016 fall meeting. Those wishing to submit papers in consideration for volume XX must do so by October 31. Shea announced this is his last journal as editor as is moving on to other projects.
Updates were issued on two other SIHR projects. In collaboration with the The Hockey News, digitization of their archives has been completed and talks are scheduled to determine costs for server hardware, software development and opportunities to monetize access for non-members. Greg Oliver suggested offering a single use search fee for those who do not need or want a membership. Transfer of the SIHR archives to the HHOF Doc Seaman Resource Centre in Toronto is scheduled for the Thursday before the fall meeting. Ernie Fitzsimmons' archive of approximately 7,000 photos is not included in the transfer.
Lloyd Davis provided some details of the fall meeting to be held in Toronto (date to be confirmed) with the theme 100 years of NHL hockey in the city. Activities will be centered around the downtown core with the exception of a (still to be finalized) Friday afternoon outing to the Ontario Archives at York University and the Friday night meet and greet at member Mike Wilson's in home Toronto Maple Leafs museum. Organizers are waiting on the OUA schedule to ensure there are no scheduling conflicts with the fall meeting date. Hotels and pricing are still to be confirmed but Davis asked members to note Toronto is pricier than other host cities.
Ottawa was revealed as the site of the 2017 AGM. Host James Milks announced it will take place May 19-21 over the Victoria Day weekend with the AGM being held at the Canadian Museum of History across the river in Gatineau. SIHR will partner with CMH in a community outreach project as yet to be determined. The host hotel will be the Four Points Sheraton across from CMH at a rate of $149 plus taxes and fees.
Before the guest panel featuring local stalwarts Fred O'Donnell, Roy B. Conacher Jr. and Mark Potter, attendees were treated to a greeting from Kingston town crier Chris Whyman. Resplendent in his red robe and regalia, Whyman welcomed the assembled "scribes, preservers and protectors" of hockey lore and thanked them for gathering yet again in Kingston.
Conacher, of the fabled hockey clan, discussed his family history, moving to Kingston in 1973, working with the OHHOF, rooming with Gordie Howe and playing under Herb Carnegie with the Future Aces in Toronto "learning some of the great rules of life." O'Donnell talked about being a kid from Gananoque who made it to the NHL. His story about taking Phil Esposito out of hospital on a gurney to go drinking, only to have a wheel fall off en route elicited laughter. The novelty (and no doubt alcohol) wore off and teammates called an ambulance to bring Esposito back to hospital.
Mark Potter was praised by Fitsell as the person who "almost single handedly saved the OHHOF." Potter in turn thanked Conacher for helping improve the museums situation while he was president. Relocating the OHHOF to Invista Centre right off highway 401 resulted in dropping from 75,000 to 15,000 square feet of exhibit space but Potter said the future looks good.
Conacher, O'Donnell and Potter joined members at guests in a buffet lunch at the Kingston Brewing Company, a slapshot away from Memorial Hall. On returning, long-time member Ron Leger was warmly welcomed back after missing the St. Paul meeting for health reasons and had items from his memorabilia collection on display. Other presentations were: Comparing Top Goalies 1904-2012, Jake Bartlett; Baltimore Orioles: Minnesota in Maryland, Roger Godin; Hockey's Lost Boy: The Rise and Fall of George Patterson, Dale Morrisey; 228th Battalion, J. Andrew Ross, and Barilko: Without a Trace, Kevin Shea. Glen Goodhand, who traditionally led off with the first presentation graciously offered to publish his paper online so members could get ready for dinner.
The gala dinner at Fort Henry was a cozy affair and as befits the venue, a blend of past and present. The inaugural Paul Kitchen award, for best research project (book or documentary) produced during the past calendar year, was presented by his son and SIHR member Peter Kitchen to Eric Zweig for Art Ross: The Hockey Legend Who Built the Boston Bruins. The Brian McFarlane Award for publication in the Journal and paper presentations at SIHR meetings was given to Iain Fyffe in absentia. The President's Award for outstanding contribution to SIHR was shared this year by Glen Goodhand and Aaron Norris. Goodhand has been an active SIHR member for many years and his Hockey's Historic Highlights column is a feature of the Bulletin and website. Norris was given the honour to acknowledge his contributions inputting statistics into the SIHR database. Ernie Fitzsimmons was honoured by having his name and a brief description of his contribution to the SIHR database added to the bottom of every database search.
The tail end of SIHR's silver jubilee was the (usually) semi-annual Fitsell Cup Ball Hockey Championship Game at the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre. With only one goalie and short benches on both teams, the game ended in a tie. That's the official story and we're sticking to it.