Trail Senior Smoke Eaters: Tradition thrives at annual dinner

Smoke Eater reunion dinner goes at noon on Saturday at Cantons.

The men that helped build Trail’s rich hockey legacy and tradition will meet for their annual reunion banquet on Saturday.

All former Trail Senior Smoke Eaters who played in the Western International Hockey League (WIHL) are invited to meet at Cantons Restaurant in Trail at noon on Saturday to swap stories and share memories of the golden era of senior men’s hockey.

The WIHL was an extension of the old West Kootenay League, which had operated in the Kootenays since the early 1920s. The WIHL formed in 1946 and ran until 1988, and included B.C. teams from Trail, Nelson, Rossland, Fernie, and Cranbrook as well as teams from Calgary, Portland, Spokane and Los Angeles that competed at various times throughout the league’s history.

The Smokies greatest success in the WIHL was when they won the 1960 WIHL title and ‘61 World Championship, without winning the ‘60 Allan Cup that season. Rather they attended the championship in place of  the Chatham Maroons.

The Smoke Eaters, however, captured the WIHL title and the Allan Cup championship in 1962 by beating the Montreal Olympiques in the final.

The following season was the only year the WIHL did not operate because the Trail Smoke Eaters travelled overseas to play in the ‘63 World Championship, where they placed fourth.

All told, the Trail Smoke Eaters senior men’s team won the WIHL title seven times, it’s most recent Savage Cup victories in 1979 and ‘83.

For more info or to RSVP call Wayne Florko at 368-5645.