Hockey—a source of community pride

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September 8, 2016 12:00 AM

If you’re a passionate hockey fan, you’re no doubt waiting with great anticipation for the pre-season to begin. 
I know I sure am! 
The book, 75 Years of Sport and Culture in Lloydminster has personal recollections on the early days of Lloydminster’s hockey.
For the Barr Colonists, hockey was a recreational sport but this quickly changed as other teams developed and organized leagues were formed.
The net was two posts frozen into the ice and the goal judge stood on the ice behind the goal. 
The puck could not be passed forward, kicked, or hit with the hand. 
With seven players on each team, the rover played wherever he could help the most, as he had no specific position to play. 
No substitutes were allowed during the game unless the player was injured.
The first Hockey Club formed in December 1905. 
Lloydminster’s first covered hockey rink became reality in 1907, which unfortunately was destroyed by fire the following year. 
The Eastern Alberta Hockey League (EAHL) formed in 1908 with the first game played in Lloydminster in 1909 against Kitscoty. 
Outdoor rinks were used until the covered rink was replaced for the 1927-28 season.
During the 1910-11 season, two noteworthy games took place between Fathers vs. Sons and Married vs. Bachelors on the outdoor rink. 
The date was April 6th—must have been a long winter.
By 1912, Lashburn joined the EAHL and Lloydminster’s team colours were yellow and black. 
During the 1913-14 season, the Lloyd Juniors formed. 
There were few games played throughout the First World War except for local pick-up games as many of the players enlisted. 
A silver collection taken at the games provided some financial support to purchase goalie equipment (goalie stick, cricket shin pads, and a baseball chest protector).  Local businessmen donated funds to purchase team sweaters. 
Many stories have been told of how the goalie and even some players used Eaton’s catalogues to serve as shin pads for added protection. 
Travelling for the players was a prairie challenge as roads did not exist, temperatures were cold in the unheated automobiles, and the snow was deep. 
Between the years 1923-26, the hockey team was very successful on the ice. 
One year, the Lloyd Tigers travelling to Chauvin in Mr. Rendell’s Model-T Ford had to be pulled down a gully hill with a lariat. 
The entire team travelled in this automobile with their equipment hanging on the outside.
In the winter of 1917-18, water from the town well was pumped by hand to flood a rink in the schoolyard so the high school students could play. 
Shinny was also played on the street with a frozen puck.
Players of notable skill surfaced, however, players were brought in to compete at a higher level giving the fans a taste of first class hockey.
The Prolites, renamed in 1929 after the popular skates made by C.C.M. worn by most of the players, won many championships including the Craig Cup.  The team travelled in a covered one-ton truck heated with briquettes.
When World War II began in 1939, players once again enlisted and the Prolites carried on with players from the High School and district.
Starting in 1938, the annual Board of Trade Hockey Tournament ran for more than 30 years. 
As stated by Alf Lampitt: “Each February the Lloydminster Board of Trade promoted their hockey tournament. 
That was the day all roads led to Lloyd. 
To most people it was a day in Lloyd, either shopping or whooping it up at the arena, rooting for the home team.” 
Providing extra meals for at least 1000 people, a hearty meal of steak, potatoes, vegetables, coffee, and a quarter-piece of pie sold for 35 cents at local restaurants. 
In 1959, the tournament did not finish due to the soft ice being right down to the dirt.
Hockey is more than just a competitive game of strategy and skill.
From the days of the Barr Colonists standing in the snowbanks at an outdoor rink, cheering their team to victory or sharing in their loss, makes this national pastime more than just a sport. 
Hockey is really a source of strong community pride coming straight from the heart.
Living in Lloydminster, Sandra raised her family here and is a proud grandmother of three. Like our early pioneers to the west, she encourages everyone to follow their dreams.

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