1963 MEMORIAL CUP
Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Niagara Falls Flyers
at Edmonton (Gardens)
Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Niagara Falls Flyers
at Edmonton (Gardens)
The Edmonton Oil Kings were back in the national final for a fourth consecutive year. And coach Buster Brayshaw was all but guaranteeing victory over the Niagara Falls Flyers.
This, he said, was the best team he had brought to the championship. And furthermore, he said, this team had been taught to play "the eastern style of play.”
"This is the biggest club overall that I've taken to the final,” Brayshaw said. "It has more weight because I've found that our light clubs in past years have run out of oomph as the season wears on.
"The larger club may take more time getting started but they have the staying power.”
Considering the west had won but seven titles since 1940, the Oil Kings had their work cut out for them.
"In the past, (eastern clubs) have come out on top by clutching and grabbing, playing the man and shooting the puck a lot,” Brayshaw said. "We will play that way now, too. Any club that gets into a series with us now will know it as we can play as tough as anybody.”
The Oil Kings had made it to the final with a best-of-seven playoff victory over the SJHL-champion Estevan Bruins (six games) and a five-game victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Abbott Cup final.
Included on the Edmonton roster were Bert Marshall, Pat Quinn, Glen Sather, Max Mestinsek, Bob Falkenberg, Gregg Pilling, Dave Rochefort, Ron Anderson, Jim Eagle, Butch Paul, goaltender Russ Kirk and captain Roger Bourbonnais. Marshall, Quinn and Sather would go on to coach in the NHL.
The Flyers, managed by the legendary Hap Emms and coached by Bill Long, had eliminated the Neil McNeil Maroons and Espanola Eagles in Ontario playoffs and then dumped the Notre Dame de Grace Monarchs 8-2, 7-1 and 5-0 in the best-of-five eastern final. The Flyers were led by Bill Goldsworthy, Wayne Maxner, Ron Schock, Ted Snell, Gary Dornhoefer, Don Awrey, Terry Crisp and goaltender George Gardner.
The championship, with all games played at Edmonton Gardens, opened on May 2 with Niagara Falls roaring to an 8-0 victory before 6,785 fans.
Snell and Maxner, with two goals each, Dornhoefer, Goldsworthy, Gary Harmer and Ron Hergott scored for the Flyers. Gardner, 20, posted the shutout.
The game was physical and featured 25 penalties, 14 to the Flyers.
"They had an off night,” Emms said. "It's going to be a tough series yet.”
Brayshaw added: "They certainly aren't eight goals better than us.”
Crisp was the only casualty from Game 1. He was left nursing a charleyhorse.
The Oil Kings rebounded on May 5 to even the series with a 7-3 victory in front of 6,845 fans.
Paul, an 18-year-old from Red Willow, Alta., scored twice and set up three other goals for Edmonton. Bourbonnais, Mestinsek, Harold Fleming, Butch Barber and Falkenberg also scored for the Oilers. Bill Glashan, with two, and Schock replied for the Flyers.
Crisp was in the lineup, while the Oilers dropped forward Jim Chase, who had joined the team for the playoffs from the juvenile ranks, in favor of Rochefort.
Gardner stopped 37 shots in this one, while Kirk blocked 18.
On May 6, before 6,424 fans, the Oil Kings exploded for four second-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory.
Paul continued his superb play with two goals, while singles came from Mestinsek, Falkenberg and Bourbannais. Harmer and Glashan scored for the Flyers.
The teams played through a scoreless first period before Edmonton outscored the visitors 4-1 in the second.
Gardner was brilliant again in a losing cause, this time stopping 30 shots.
Dornhoefer was lost for the series when he suffered a broken leg when checked by Quinn, who was hit with a major penalty for charging.
This marked the first time in four years that the Oil Kings had a series lead during a Memorial Cup final.
The Oil Kings upped their edge to 3-1 on May 7 with a 3-2 victory before 6,300 fans.
Doug Fox's goal at 11:08 of the third period broke a 2-2 deadlock and gave Edmonton the victory. He was able to lift the rebound of a Falkenberg shot over Gardner for the winner.
The teams played to period ties of 1-1 and 2-2. Maxner scored both Niagara Falls' goals, with Edmonton getting its goals from Paul and Mestinsek.
Emms played the game under protest after his request to be allowed to select which end of the ice his team would first defend was denied. The start of the game was delayed 15 minutes while the request was considered.
As it turned out, Emms had filed an all-encompassing protest before the series started. This one was because he felt the CAHA rules dealing with the placing of goal nets out from the end boards was being violated.
The Flyers stayed alive on May 9 with a 5-2 victory in front of 6,746 fans.
According to The Canadian Press: "Flyers, showing much more drive than they have in any other game this series, took a physical beating from the hard-hitting and sometimes brutal Oil Kings.”
Crisp, with two, Harmer, Glashan and Awrey, who was having a superb series on defence, scored for the Flyers. Eagle and Fox scored for Edmonton.
More from CP: "The game almost turned into a donnybrook with less than two minutes to go. Greg Pilling of Oil Kings and defenceman Rich Morin of Flyers crashed against the boards and Morin, on the outside, bounced to the ice. As the play moved up to centre and with the referee watching the puck, Pilling brought his stick down across Morin's head. Morin was taken from the ice on a stretcher and it took five minutes to get play under way again.”
Earlier in the game, Barber had flattened Harmer at centre ice. Harmer was taken to hospital with what was believed to be a fractured right leg.
Gardner was excellent again, this time stopping 23 saves. Kirk blocked 19.
Emms, who came west with 19 players (17 skaters and two goaltenders), said before Game 6 that he had 10 players injured in the first five games, including Harmer and Dornhoefer, both of whom had broken legs.
The known injured: Rich Morin, 10-stitch cut to the head; Goldsworthy, torn stomach muscles; Crisp, charleyhorse; Glashan, 12-stitch cut to the chin; Hergott, 10-stitch facial cut; Awrey, concussion, forehead contusions, two black eyes; Gardner, mild concussion; and, Maxner, stretched muscles near the rib cage.
"I said if the Oil Kings lost the fifth game, they'd lose the series,” Emms stated. "Our boys appear more accustomed to the climate and the altitude and have regained their strength.”
But the Oil Kings wrapped it up on May 11, posting a thrilling 4-3 sixth-game victory before more than 6,700 fans.
The crowd swarmed on to the ice at the final siren and lifted Kirk, Quinn and Bourbonnais on to its collective shoulders.
The Oil Kings had this game in control until the last half of the third period.
Goals by Fox, Sather, Paul and Pilling gave the Oil Kings a 4-0 lead early in the third period. But Mestinsek took the game's only penalty shortly thereafter and seven seconds later Glashan put the Flyers on the board.
Niagara Falls swarmed around the Edmonton net for the rest of the game, getting goals from Schock and Crisp. But the Flyers weren't able to pull even.
Kirk made the game's biggest save on Maxner with about five minutes to play. Kirk stopped 27 shots, three fewer than Gardner.
Pilling scored what turned out to be the Memorial Cup-winning goal at 4:11 of the third period when he put a low backhander through Gardner's legs.
CAHA president Art Potter presented the Memorial Cup to Bourbonnais. That picture is one of the great photos in Canadian sporting history – Bourbonnais is pictured wearing a cape and a crown, both of which had been placed on him by adoring fans.
"I never thought anything could give me the thrill I got last year when a bunch of fuzzy-cheeked kids carried us to the Memorial Cup final,” Brayshaw said. "But this club did. It's a great feeling, a better thrill than I got from anything I ever did as a player or coach anywhere.”
Edmonton won the Memorial Cup for the first time in seven trips to the final. The only other Alberta team to win the Memorial Cup was the Calgary Canadians in 1926.
This was also the first time a team from one of the three western provinces had won it all since the Regina Pats were successful in 1930.
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