May 15 2012 10:51AM
Congratulations to the Edmonton Oil Kings! They are heading off to Shawinigan, Quebec to play for the Memorial Cup. It is a great tourney with four strong teams.
My first year in Kamloops we went to Laval, Quebec to play against North Bay, Chicoutimi and Laval for the Championship. It was a very intense tournament that many expected to be won by a team from the QMJL. Both had very strong goalies, Manny Fernandez in Laval and Eric Fichaud in Chicoutimi.
We knew we had a strong team and felt this was our tourney to win. Don Hay was our coach and he was a great motivator. Instead of his usual fire up type speech he took a different approach a day before our first game.
He gathered us all in the dressing room and held up a stick with white tape down one side. He explained we would each write the name of who we were playing for on the stick and explain why we chose that person.
I have never been involved in a more emotional team bonding experience.
As each player, coach and trainer took turns with the stick, I felt our team becoming closer and closer. There was no way we would lose the cup. Even now, many years later I still remember that feeling.
We blew through the tourney and were crowned champions! Winning a Championship brings a group of people together and unites them forever. Even if I haven't seen some of the guys for years that bond remains strong.
I hope the Oil Kings experience that bond.