An unexpected addition to the ‘61 Smokies legacy will join the Coppa Fiat and the iconic Team Canada jersey that hangs in the Trail Memorial Centre, as a further tribute to the 1961 Trail Smoke Eaters’ World Championship team.
A framed copy of a Globe and Mail article written by James Christie in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Silver City team’s big win over Russia in the final game of the ‘61 World Championship was donated to the city and Trail Historical Society by Trent McIntyre, nephew of ‘61 Smokies’ player Pinoke McIntyre.
Trent won the framed tribute in an auction at the Smoke Eaters November banquet and thought it would be better served by sharing it with the community.
“It’s something that I thought he (Pinoke) would appreciate me doing because he was such a big part of the ‘61 Smoke Eaters,” said Trent. “I thought it would be something in his memory for his kids to see, and it would be nice to have it somewhere where everyone can enjoy it, rather than just sitting in my house.”
The ‘61 Smokies gathered at the Royal Theatre in March of last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the win and enjoy some rare footage of the 5-1 victory over Russia. It was where the author spoke to many of the players.
The Globe article outlines the Smoke Eaters’ journey to the championship and includes interviews with players like Cal Hockley, Don Fletcher, Seth Martin, and Dave Rusnell, and how a group of boyhood friends from a small industrial town rose to prominence on the world hockey stage by defying the odds and going undefeated against the juggernauts of world hockey.
“It (the ‘61 championship) is an important part of the hockey legacy of Trail,” said Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs upon receiving the frame. “In ‘61 I lived that part of the hockey history in Trail, and I said before, when I came to Trail in ‘61, I’m a sports fan so it was like I died and went to heaven. . . We had the Russians here, the Czechs here, the Swedes here, the best in the world really, and of course our team was also part of the best in the world. So its part of the legacy and I am very proud to receive this . . . it will be cherished by the citizens of Trail.”
The tribute was originally presented to Trail City Councillor and ardent Smokie volunteer Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson by the McIntyre family at the Smoke Eaters’ Dec. 15 game against the Vernon Vipers. It was accompanied by the World Championship footage played for the crowd on the scoreboard.