Provincial Champions Returning After 50 Years
The 1967 Vermilion Kinsmen Pontiacs - Midget Provincial Champions.
Back Row: the late Stan Manyluk (Coach), Ernie Semeniuk, Ernie Heinemann, Ken Woywitka, Ron Jones, Bernie Olsen, Don Brennan, Bud Baddock (Manager)
Middle Row: Bob Miller, Ron Malin, Jim Williams, Lorne Wasylishen, Dean Manyluk, Robert Farkash, Robert MacPhee
Front Row: Murray King, D'Arcy Donald, Lyle Farkash, Ervin Strome
Celebrating their 50 year reunion, the Vermilion 1967 Kinsmen Pontiacs - Midget Provincial Champions will be gathering at the Pomeroy at 6 p.m. on July 29.
Members will be travelling from as far as Florida to attend, and the team has invited anyone from the public who was involved or would like to offer their congratulations. In 1967, the team scored 276 goals with only 46 against during their 25 games. In total they had 28 wins and only 1 loss to a AA team from Edmonton.
After their success in 1967, many members of the team went on to play hockey elsewhere, including Ron Jones who was drafted by the Boston Bruins and got to play with Bobby Orr during their Stanley Cup Championship season in 1971-72. Don Brennan was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, and Bob Miller who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to Lyle Farkash, the number of people who went on to play was interesting with three captains and many players on Junior and Western Canadian teams.
“The thing that`s indicative of the team is that everyone is coming back to the reunion; it`s pretty amazing after 50 years. Without the support of the town, we wouldn`t have been as successful or had near as much fun,” said Jones.
According to Jones, with a population around 3,000 people, the team consistently drew 2,000 to the rink with standing room only.
“There must have been something awfully special going on,” said Jones.
The team noted that Gordon Hubbard had been a big time influence to Vermilion Hockey- having previously coached the team multiple years in Minor Hockey. They also noted the influence of Brent McNabb who played with Vancouver at one time, as well as coaches, Joe Brower and Henry Wasylik.
“We were also grateful to Manager - Bud Baddock, Coach - the late Stan Manyluk, rink attendants Johnny Gordie and Jack Winters, and our busy, dedicated parents. They did a fabulous job helping us as children by flooding the ice with hand carts, and even let us on the ice early; they were really good. We were a bunch of country boys really, and after working hard on the farm and in small towns, we were rewarded by getting to play sports. We were lucky to have great parents and a great community,” said Farkash.
The 1967 Kinsmen Pontiacs team continues to influence Vermilion Hockey by issuing the Heart and Hustle Award to an outstanding Midget player each year.
Some of the team members had also attended the Western Canadian Baseball Championships in 1965 - 1966, beating teams across Alberta and Saskatchewan, losing only the final to Manitoba. They have also invited a few of their baseball teammates to exchange memories from their youth.
Back row from left, the late John Ganton, Mac McLean, Ron Jones, Don Brennan, and Cecil Jones.
Middle row from left, Joe Winters, Lyle Farkash, Alan Clouston, Darcy Donald, Don Jones, and Eric Dowdell.
Front row from left, Coaches Bob Park, Stan Jones, and Manager Joe Winters.