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Trail Blazers: When the Smokies call the community answers

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
L-R: Joe Mykietyn, Trail Smoke Eater Hockey Club president circa 1973, Smoke Eater goalie Pierre Hamel, Trail alderman Walt Siemens (looking very dashing in his fedora), and Smoke Eater playing coach Don Walker. Photo: Trail Historical Society

The iciest fundraiser ever was underway in the City of Trail 49 years ago almost to the day.

Because what’s more Trail-like than holding an event that is athletic, fun, and helpful in raising money for everyone’s favourite hockey players on the Smoke Eaters team?

That year the hockey club was in financial straits and needed cash to pay down a bus debt and to invest in the players’ scholarship fund.

So a plan was hatched to organize a skate-a-thon in the Cominco Arena.

More than 130 skaters signed on pledging money to the cause before the ready-set-go on Sunday, Jan. 28, 1973.

Donations topped $2,000 by the time thousands of laps were in the bag, with all proceeds covering a slice of the club’s debt and padding the players’ fund.

“Readying the start of a 50-lap marathon around the Cominco Arena is Joe Mykietyn, president of the Trail Smoke Eater Hockey Club,” explains Sarah Benson-Lord, Trail Museum and Archives manager, describing the photo.

“Tense with anticipation are Smoke Eater goalie Pierre Hamel, Trail alderman Walt Siemens, and Smoke Eater playing coach Don Walker.”

Were you there?

Tell us what you remember!

According to an online inflation calculator, $2,000 in 1973 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $12,560 today.

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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