50 years since Habs visit

What was a devastating blow to Jean Beliveau’s leg is a mere footnote in history to most.

What was a devastating blow to Jean Beliveau’s leg is a mere footnote in history to most.

There is little fanfare today in marking  the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens visit to the Silver City. Yet it is the only time the actual NHL team (not an old-timers squad) visited Trail.

Montreal Canadiens’ forward Jean Beliveau was named team captain shortly after an incident in an exhibition match at the Cominco Arena that cost him half his season. But in some small way, it may have helped the “gentle giant” become team captain.

According to Murray Greig in his book “Trail on Ice;” on Sept. 30, 1961, the Canadiens were in town playing the Spokane Comets of the Western International Hockey League.

Beliveau told Greig years later at a memorabilia show in Vancouver, that the game was arranged so the City of Trail could thank the Habs for their financial support of the ’61 Smoke Eaters trip to the World Championships.

“We had an exhibition game in Vancouver and then we went to Seattle and Trail,” recalls Beliveau.

“We’re in this little hotel and I’ve got this really bad cold. I’m sweating. I’m coughing, I’m weak, but I went with the team to the (Cominco) arena.

“Toe (coach Blake) came to me: ‘Jean, can you dress?’ “ he asked. “ ‘The arena is full. They want to see you play. I’ve got to dress you, he said.’

‘Toe, I haven’t got much, but I’ll play a couple of shifts, I told him.’

“Second shift,” recalled Beliveau. “There’s this big guy (Bill Folk) on defence. I tried to go around him, but I had no legs. We fell. I pulled a ligament in my knee. Two months out,” he said with a sigh.

Trail hockey fan Cliff Tyson was at that game 50 years ago, sitting in the same section he occupied at the Smoke Eaters game on Wednesday.

“The place was packed, because well Montreal’s in town and I was a kid then and the kids were all sitting in the stairwells here,” said Tyson, a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leaf fan.

“I remember he (Beliveau) got hit by the blue line somewhere, and he went down and he was rolling around, he was in terrific pain. They packed him off the ice and that was it.”

Beliveau was wearing a cast when a month later his team voted him captain, over the likes of Dickie Moore and “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. His commitment to the team and devotion to the game became apparent as a result of the injury.

Beliveau missed almost 30 games that year, the most in his career but he would serve as the Canadiens captain for 10 years, the longest tenure in Habs history.

He also played on 10 Stanley Cup teams, yet the memory of being voted captain in 1961 still shines brightly, as does the painful recollection of his brief but character-building time spent on the ice at the Cominco Arena.

Just Posted

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Asian clams versus native B.C. clams comparison. Photo: Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society
Invasive Asian Clams found in Pend D’Oreille River

Watercraft users and anglers are urged to clean, drain and dry gear

The KBRH Gratitude Mural by Tyler Toews was unveiled at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital on June 9. L-R: Kala Draney, third year med student, Dr. Scot Mountain, Diane Shendruk from IH, Dr. Carolyn Stark, Dr. Sue Benzer, Dr. Kristen Edge, James Brotherhood, Dr. Dennis Small, and Dr. Sue Babensee. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Boundary doctors offer a healthy dose of goodness with Gratitude Mural

Its red ribbon is in the shape of a heart rising above a Kootenay Boundary mountain scene

A cougar, or cougars, went on a killing rampage at a small Fruitvale farm. Photo: Thomas S. on Unsplash
Cougar euthanized after taking out small animal farm in Fruitvale

Wildlife interactions, poachers or polluters should be reported to RAPP at 1.877.952.7277

The Trail Smoke Eaters will open the 2021 season on Oct. 8 against the Cranbrook Bucks in Cranbrook, and will have their home opener the next night against the same Bucks. Photo: Jack Murray
BC Hockey League announces 54-game schedule to begin in October

Trail Smoke Eaters open season with home-and-home series versus Cranbrook Bucks

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read