Stamps on ice: a stroll down memory lane

BILLY POWERS

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Like someone once said: "As much as things change, they also stay the same," and that hit home this week with a bit of an ironic twist that sent me down memory lane. It all started when this newspaper ran a picture of Calgary Stampede president George Brookman in Florida promoting a film that in turn was promoting Canada and Calgary.

If you recall, he was joined by Stampede royalty, but they stood right beside a chuckwagon that was part of a famous pancake breakfast.

Here's the irony of the whole deal: On the same day, my friend Gord Worsley handed me an envelope that contained some newspaper articles, a few pictures and a couple of programs from the distant past.

And guess what? On the front page of a newspaper called The Evening Reporter, which served Galt, Preston and Hespeler in Ontario, was a picture of the Calgary Stampeders senior hockey club hosting what they called 'a chuckwagon-style breakfast of hotcakes and bacon on Main Street.'

In the Brookman piece from Florida, nothing was said about a White Hat ceremony, but I'm sure there was one. Because in The Evening Reporter from 1969, there was a photo of Stampeders trainer Ed (Gump) Worsley and coach Roy Kelly presenting Galt Mayor Gordon Rouse with the popular Stetson.

That was back in April of 1969, when the Stampeders were representing the West in the then-prestigious Allan Cup final. That was senior hockey at its best, and I'm sorry, but the product of today can't hold a candle to what we had then, if in fact there remains a senior hockey product. But I remember it well, having joined the late Ed Whalen and George Bilych as the only media types travelling that far to cover the event.

The Allan Cup final was a wipeout, as Kelly had to coach a shorthanded team in four straight losses, but some of the players names will bring back memories -- like defencemen Mike Orman and Frank Arnett, forwards Tony Kollman, Pete Weston, Carl Chwachka, Ted Demchuk, Warren Hicks, and Carl (Casper) Forster.

One of the programs Worsley handed me was from the 1970-71 Stampeders season, and pictured in the press gallery was a young Bill Power from CKXL radio. Judging by the spelling of my name, I obviously hadn't made a mark yet -- and maybe haven't to this day. Others pictured were Whalen, Henry Viney, Joe Carbury, Arnold Jackson, Russ Peake and the late Glen Dempsey, who ran the South Side Mirror at the time.

The Stampede breakfast took Galt by storm way back when and still is today.

Rugby Lovers unite

I've had people asking why coverage of the Rugby World Cup in France did not get a lot of attention on CHQR or in other media outlets. I will say -- and I'm being brutally honest here -- this is a sport that does not have a big following from the general public. The few that watch it, play it or like it are totally involved, but the majority of Calgarians are not that interested. Canada was in the event but got bounced quickly, gaining only one tie during the event. But there was a Calgary touch to this affair, because Calgary-born Matt Dunning was a starting front row (prop) player for the heavily favoured -- but early-ousted -- entry from Australia. Matt is the son of John Dunning, who lived in Calgary for many years and played with the Calgary Irish for several seasons before moving back to Australia ... Complaints about the price of beer down at the Saddledome are rolling in. Let me say you are getting off lightly. At the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, you pay through the nose for a $13 beer. At Yankee Stadium, a beer will cost you $8. So $7 in Calgary is not out of line.

Until next week.


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