Edmonton Mercurys were everyday golden heroes for Canada in '52

Ralph Hansch's 1952 Edmonton Mercurys Olympic jersey and medals (see Brian Swane for details on...

Ralph Hansch's 1952 Edmonton Mercurys Olympic jersey and medals (see Brian Swane for details on medals) photographed at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Ralph is the father of Edmonton Oil Kings general manager Randy Hansch. (CODIE MCLACHLANC/QMI Agency)

BRIAN SWANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

Imagine for a moment, Carey Price needing permission from the City of Montreal to be part of the 2014 Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team, or Roberto Luongo unable to leave Vancouver for Sochi without civic approval.

Seems kind of ridiculous, right?

Before he could join the Edmonton Mercurys as Canada’s hockey representatives at the 1952 Winter Games, goaltender Ralph Hansch sought out permission of Your Worship, William Hawrelak.

Ralph, you see, was a former Edmonton Flyer turned full-time firefighter. And if the city was going to be without one of its civil servants for an extended period, well, Edmonton’s mayor was going to have to sign off on it.

Fortunately, Hawrelak gave the OK.

Ralph went on to backstop Canada to gold at the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway. Then the 27-year-old returned home to congratulations, celebrated for a moment, and that was that. A national hero, he went back to being an everyday hero with the fire department, never to play e


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