By David Penney |
Oct. 22, 2015
Memorial University’s senior Beothuks hockey team is battling the defending champion Guards for the Boyle Trophy in Game 7 of the city championship. You can feel the stands at Memorial Stadium shaking under your feet.
That was April 6, 1965.
Down three games to one, Memorial battled back to tie the series and then won the seventh and deciding game. In front of 4,300 boisterous fans, the hard fought 4-1 victory came against a team everyone said they couldn’t beat.
Fast-forward 50 years. That fairy-tale team, along with members of the Memorial Cup-winning junior squad from that same year, reunited during MUNdays 2015. At a special ceremony on Oct. 17 hosted by Memorial’s president, Dr. Gary Kachanoski, the Boyle Trophy champions were recognized with the Team of Distinction Award. They are only the second varsity team in Memorial’s history to have received this honour.
Dr. Karen Murphy, director, Division of Athletics, presented the honour to team captain Ian Campbell, who accepted on behalf of the team.
“This is a title reserved for teams who have made an outstanding contribution to the traditions and athletic history at our university,” noted Dr. Murphy. “This team was the first from Memorial to capture the coveted Boyle Trophy — and they did so in dramatic fashion. These men chose to play for Memorial and in doing so set an expectation for excellence that we continue to strive for today.”
A highlight of the evening was the recreation of the original team photo with the Boyle Trophy. In the 1970s, the trophy was designated as a provincial artifact and is currently stored in the archives at The Rooms. Arrangements were made to have the trophy on display at the ceremony.
During a time when the university was transitioning to a new, larger campus and had experienced a significant increase in student enrolment, the championship run in 1965 is credited as a key event that brought the university community together. Dr. Rollie Martin was a key organizer of this weekend’s reunion. He spoke about the impact of the team as a unifying force for Memorial.
“For the seventh game, they even shut down the library and literally the entire campus came out to watch,” said Dr. Martin. “There was nobody left in the residences. You could see Dr. Ray Gushue in the stands, Mose Morgan, dean of Arts, and many faculty and staff...it was special. I don’t think there’s anything in those early years that can compare — the spirit in which students, faculty and staff came together was unbelievable. It had a long-lasting and incredibly positive impact on not just athletics but the entire university. The players from that team have gone on to become successful in business, many other professions and public service in Newfoundland and Labrador, throughout Canada and around the world.”