Backyard hockey, Canmore style

Canmore boys pause for a photograph during a hockey game. ©Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre

Of all the photographs the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre holds in its archives, this is one of my favourites. As far as I can guess, the picture was taken some time after the First World War – a far as I can tell – as four of the boys are wearing leather aviator helmets. The boy to the right of the goalie is sporting the goggles as well. The rest of the boys are wearing newsboy caps. The skates and goalie pads appear to be from the ’20s or ’30s, as well (but could be even from the ’40s). In winter, hockey was one of Canmore’s main pastimes and this tiny mining town produced a surprising number of professional players – Percy Jackson, Alex Kaleta; Frank, Joe and Art Jerwa; Art and John Michaluk; Ollie Reinikka; Andy Chakowski; Darcy Campbell and Leo Carbol (and I know I’ve missed many other names) – who went on to compete for teams in both the major and minor leagues. And the best part is, they each and everyone of Canmore’s pros had their start just as the boys in this picture: on backyard rinks. And it wasn’t just the boys who played hockey in Canmore. The girls played a mean game of hockey, as well. too. Annie Williamson played professional hockey in Portland, Oregon. Before we were a ski town, downhill or cross-country, we were a powerhouse of a hockey town.


About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.
This entry was posted in People, Photos, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Backyard hockey, Canmore style

  1. hockeycoach5 says:

    Reblogged this on a hockey coach's corner of the world and commented:
    This is hockey at its purest. Kids on the back yard rink or pond without any adults around to tell them how to play the game.

  2. maureen says:

    Rob, I’m pretty sure that is the outdoor rink in front of the old arena; a friend of mine lived in that house (it was pale green) in the early 80’s. It was torn down when the arena was.

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