The Ponoka Lions midgets capped off a tremendous season by winning the 1972-73 Provincial Midget ‘B’ Hockey Championship. Shown in the photo from left to right, back row are: Coach Jimmy Smith, Rick Crawford, Gerard Holman, Harvey Stefura, Larry Comeau, Rich Lauinger, Robbie Grant, Greg Smith, Mitch Whitman, Team Manager Charlie Patterson, and Stacy Hodgson. Seated in the front row with the Championship trophies is, left to right: Trainer Bill Kinnear, Russell Vandersteen, Jerry Stoddart, Keith White, Tom Webber, Terry Jones, and Norbert Holman. Some the highlights of their thrilling playoff run included the spectacular goaltending by Tom Webber, a five goal two-assist performance by captain Terry Jones in the big game against Westlock, jam-packed crowds for all the games in the old Ponoka ‘barn’, and a total team effort that gave our boys their second Provincial Midget ‘B’ Hockey Championship. Photo courtesy of Terry Jones

Reflections: Remembering Ponoka’s colourful hockey history

Ponoka’s hockey program was the envy of many communities back in the day

By Mike Rainone for the News

Even as a silly little English boy who arrived with my parents in Ponoka, Alberta in the middle of the very cold winter of 1948, I would quickly fall in love with this amazing Canadian game called hockey.

Growing up in those memorable years I hung around our first big old arena at the south end of 50th street, learned how to skate on an outdoor rink and on the Battle River, and later got to play my first game of shinny hockey out on the frozen road in our Riverside neighbourhood.

I was totally thrilled to become a member of the Ponoka Minor Hockey Association and put on my first ‘way too big’ team sweater, and then much later played in the rough and tumble Ponoka Town and County Farm Hockey League as well as one of the gang on the Ponoka Complex Coyotes staff team. But along the way my fondest memories of becoming a total ‘hockey fanatic’ came from cheering for our countless local Ponoka Minor Hockey, junior, and senior teams, of getting to cover hundreds of games for radio station C.K.R.D, the Ponoka Herald, and the Ponoka News, and then having the pleasure of managing the arena complex from day one and for 10 great and very busy years of watching all those teams and countless events grow and succeed while giving so many people the great opportunity of having lots of fun both on the ice and around the rink.

Now a senior at the age of 76 I still love the game of hockey, watching games at home, and getting down to the local rinks at every opportunity. Of course my favourite hobby is to be able to write about the long and colourful history of our Ponoka town and county in the Reflections and Remember When features of your Ponoka News. This of course has included the countless amazing stories about the dedicated families, men/women and youth, entrepreneurs, businesses, sports teams, events, along with the outstanding efforts that have highlighted the 100 plus years of steady growth, milestones, and ongoing successes to which all our thriving generations have been blessed. Thanks to the staff at the Fort Ostell Museum and the Ponoka News and so many other people who have so kindly provided me with so many great story ideas, pictures, books, materials, and delightful interviews, I have graciously been able to keep on sharing our proud history as well as write a zany column for quite a few years.

This week in salute of minor hockey playoffs and tournaments I will feature a couple of our talented young teams from the roaring sixties and ’70s.

Please keep right on sharing all this great information with me by popping into the office on Chipman Avenue or give me a call at 403-341-5750 or email: jrainone@telus.net.

 

Featured here is the Ponoka peewee ‘B’ team that brought home the Central Zone Peewee ‘B’ Hockey Championship for the 1967-68 season. Shown in the photo from left to right are, back row: Coach Garry Humphries, Gerard Holman, Rick Crawford, Mitch Whitman, Craig Gates, Manager Art Ablett, Randy Tofsrud, Danny Frizzel, Jack Tiltgen, Billy Robinson, and Coach Al Robinson. Seated up front from left to right is: Randy Parks, Phil Edney, Terry Jones, Tom Webber, Bill Hoar, Gerald McClaflin, Greg Smith, Lenny Greenwood, and Rex Johnson, with Kenny Krossa proudly holding the trophy. Goaltender Tom Webber fondly remembers that Lenny Greenwood was so excited when they won that he tossed his gloves up into the rafters of our old arena and they got stuck up there. These players and hundreds of other local boys and girls over the years were thrilled to be able to play through the entire Ponoka Minor Hockey program, with many later advancing into the junior, senior, and professional hockey ranks. Through our generations they have also proudly given back to their community as keen and willing coaches, referees, officials, sponsors, volunteers, and mentors, as well as always being avid and dedicated hockey parents and fans. Photo courtesy of Gerard Holman

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