The bidding has begun and the Trail Historical Society is looking to raise enough interest and funds to add a very special item to Trail’s rich sporting legacy.
Classic Auctions specializes in hockey and sports memorabilia, and this month it put on the block a 1948 Winter Olympics silver medal won by the Czechoslovakian national hockey team that was coached by Trail hockey icon Mike Buckna.
“The Trail historical society feels this would be a great edition to our collection, and the link that the fellow who coached the team to the Olympic medal was from Trail,” said Historical Society president Jamie Forbes.
The Trail native played for the Smoke Eaters in ‘32 and ‘33, then went over to visit his parents’ homeland and ended up playing and eventually coaching the Czech national team. He returned home to Trail and the Smoke Eaters after the breakout of World War II, but would again take over the reigns of the Czech team in 1946, leading them to a European title and the country’s first-ever World Hockey Championship in 1947. The team won a third European title in 1948, before competing in the Olympics.
At the Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Buckna’s Czechoslovakian team went undefeated in eight games during the round-robin tournament in Switzerland with seven wins and a scoreless draw against Canada, which finished with an identical record. However, Czechoslovakia settled for the silver medal, the only medal won by the country, by virtue of its lower average goal-differential.
“Mike Buckna was a big influence on Czechoslovakian hockey, and . . . is also honoured in the B.C. Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports,” explained Forbes. “He was a very, very good athlete. So we think there’s a link between Czechoslovakia and Mike Buckna and this would be really something to get (the medal).
The silver medal is registered as item #1151 at www.classicauctions.net, and was offered anonymously with a minimum bid of $6,050. The highest bid, $5,500, has not met the reserve price, but it is uncertain how high it will go.
“In the Olympics, only the athletes received medals, so he wouldn’t have received one; so I guess we’re sort of buying a medal for Mike.”
The bidding ends on Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. and Forbes is hoping the community can pitch in and help secure a unique piece of history for its collection.
“What we’re going through now is knocking on some doors and trying to brainstorm a bit of where perhaps there’s some corporate money that would help us purchase this. It’s a big number so we need something big, but every little bit helps,” added Forbes.