VERNON & AREA HOCKEY BEGINNINGS

A HISTORY OF HOCKEY IN THE AREA

Top

The information below is retrieved from the display cases on the concourse of Kal Tire Place, which is open to public viewing, provided by a Hall Of Fame committee. Additional information added, here and there, was retrieved from Don Klepps book, "Vernon's Hockey History 1894-2021", which is available to purchase at Vernon Viper home games. Information was also, retreived from various Wikipedia pages. The accuracy of this information is up to debate as many teams during this period had the same names so, it was very ambiguous as to which team was which.

The idea here was to give one a perspective of what, in terms of hockey, proceeded the Vernon junior 'A' teams and the league in which they played, the BCJHL.

TIMELINE OF HOCKEY IN THE VERNON AREA 1894 - 1961

Before organized hockey in the Okanagan, the frozen lakes in the area provided what was commonly known as "pond hockey". Some of the local ponds used for this purpose were Cools Pond, in the BX, a pond on Turtle Montain, Bluebush Pond, above Becker Park, and ponds in the Commonage.

1894 - The first known organized hockey in the North Okanagan was a game played between groups from Enderby and Mara. Also, that same year Vernon and Mara played a game.

1899 - A hockey club was formed in Vernon to play on an open-air rink between Barnard Avenue and Tronson Street.

1900 - The newly formed Vernon Hockey Club played a tournament at Rossland, before that they played exhibition games at Revelstoke, Nelson, and Greenwood.

1902 - An indoor rink was erected , on 34th Street, between 33rd and 34th Avenues, which relied on natural cold weather temperatures.

1904 - The Vernon Hockey Club after a series of unbroken streaks since 1902 won a B.C. Championship against Rossland.

1907 - The Vernon Ladies Hockey Club was organized. Their first game was against the Armstrong ladies in Armstrong. The Vernon women continued to play well into 1916.

1908 - On February 7th, a game was played, in the rink, between teams of guests of the Coldstream and Royal hotels.
- The Vernon's men's team swept a best-of-five series versus Armstrong to win the Ellison Cup.

1914 - Intermediate(Senior Mens) teams from a few of the the communities had emerged.

1918 - The Vernon's men's team defeated Armstrong to win the Moore-Keary Cup(Okanagan Championship).

1919 - On December 15th, the Vernon Hockey Club came under the asupices of the Vernon Amateur Athletic Association, along with the formation of a city league. A Valley League was also formed three nights later.

1920 - On January 6th,The first hockey game of the City League was played between teams from the Vernon Baseball Club and the G.W.V.A. (Great War Veterans Association).
On January 9th, the opening game of the Valley Hockey League was played between Armstrong and the Vernon Athletic Association team, on the local rink.

1922 - The Vernon High School boy's and girl's teams played against the School teams of Armstrong.
A Okanagan (High School) Championship game between Enderby and Vernon was played, hosted by Vernon.

1923 - The first Coy Cup(Mens Senior B) was awarded to Enderby (North Okanagan Hockey League) defeating Trail, in a two game total goals series.

1928 - On February 18, the Vernon Intermediate hockey team defeated a team from Merritt capturing the Intermediate British Columbia Championship, Coy Cup. One thousand and five people attended the game, a record attendance for the Okanagan Valley

1929 - The Vernon Intermediate hockey team won the Intermediate British Columbia Championship, Coy Cup.

1930 - Vernon won the regular season crown and then the playoffs as Lumby was unable to ice a team for a game. Vernon then beat Merritt, Prince George, and Copper Mountain(mining town) to win the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).

1931 - The Lumby Hockey Club "Flying Frenchmen", won Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).

1932 - The Vernon club shared the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup) Prince George

1934 - The Vernon club shared the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup)

1935 - The Vernon club shared the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup)

1936 - Mr. G.H. Dawe builds a rink for use by friends and neighbours. It became very popular among all the hockey enthusiasts of the area. An adhoc group of school boys formed the "BX Monarchs" team. Many "pick up" teams also played here, the Home Oilers, the Jay Cees, the Kinsmen and the North BX, a team from Lavington and last but, not least the Patricia Dairy "Titpullers". Also, playing on this rink, for practices, was the juvenile Hydorphones team.

1937 - The Vernon Flying Irismen were BC Junior champions.

1938 - The Vernon Flying Irismen were BC Junior champions.
On November 24th, The Formation of 'Midget' and 'Bantam' hockey leagues in the North Okanagan was accomplished, to promote and to control 'Bantam' or 'PeeWee' competition, for boys 14 and under.
To be eligible to play in this league, a boy must be attending school in the community for which he plays.

1939 - Feburary 23 & 25, The Vernon Hydrophones captured the B.C. Midget hockey crown the Cromie Memorial Cup, at the Civic Arena.
- The Lumby Hockey Club "Flying Frenchmen", won Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).
- On January 13th, The Vernon Hockey Club picked the name 'Eagles' for the city's Intermediate team from 150 ballots submitted by the local school students.

1940 - The Vernon Eagles club won the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup)
- The Dawes arena, outdoor rink, in the BX ceased operations due to WW 2. By this time the rink had lights, boards, goal nets and a soothing cup of hot chocolate after the game.
- The Vernon Hockey Club's coach, noted that there are 17 organized hockey teams operating in the city. Among those..

  • The intermediate team had dominated the North Okanagan League.
  • The junior teams were also playing Sunday nights in the new Civic Arena and drawing large cowds.
  • Among Sunday league, are the Rink Rats Elks, the Bombers, the B.C.D.'s, the Junior Oddfellows, and the Titpullers, the only outside team.
  • The Hydrophones were a juvenile team.
  • The midget team, successors to the Hydrophones, were called the Dynamoes.
  • The newly formed Pee Wees were the stronghold of hockey
  • There are two teams in the junior high school
  • There are two teams in the senior high school

1941 - The Vernon club won the BC Juvenile(aged 18 and 19) title.

1943 - The Vernon club won the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).

1944 - The Vernon Legionnaires club won the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).

1946 - The Vernon Legionnaires club won the Intermediate British Columbia Championship (Coy Cup).

1947 - The Senior A Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey League, was formed, comprising of just two teams, the Kamloops Elks and the Vernon Legionnaires. Vernon won the league securing the "Willoughby Cup".
- A Senior "B" Intemediate team from Vernon, was also formed at this time.

1948 - The Vernon Senior A team changed its name from the Vernon Legionnaires to the Vernon Canadians, won league title, Willoughby Cup.
The new Senior 'B' team, the Vernon Canadians, played its first game at the Vernon Civic Arena on November 3rd before a crowd of over 2500 spectators.

1949 - The senior B men's Okanagan Mainline League (OML)formed, prior being a intemidiate league.
- The Senior 'B' Vernon Canadians move up to Intemediate (Okanagan-Mainline Amateur Hockey League).

1950 - Sunday, October 29, 3pm, Commercial Hockey League starts play with three teams. 30 players showed up for parctice Tuesday, Oct 24.(as reported by Vernon News Oct 26, 1950)

1951 - In June, the Okanagan-Mainline Amateur Hockey League was dropped in favour of adopting a new interior league, the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League.
- The (OMAHL) split into two leagues, the Pacific Coast Senior Hockey League and the Okanagan Senior Hockey League (OSHL), which included teams from Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton Vees.
- On October 16th, The new Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League, begins play in Vernon as the Vernon Canadians take on the Kelowna Packers. They also play teams of the Western International Hockey League, namely, Trail, Nelson, Kimberley and Spokane.

1952 - A Vernon club, coached by Bill Brown (who would later became owner of the Vernon Junior Canadians a junior 'A' team in 1961), won the BC Juvenile title.

1955 - The Vernon Canadians senior mens team of the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League, won leagues, Willougby Cup & BC Championship, the Savage Cup and the Allan Cups' Western playdowns semifinal.

1956 - The Vernon Canadians of the OSAHL achieved national success, after winning the Willouby Cup, the Savage Cup.... On April 27th the Vernon Canadians claimed Vernon's first Allan cup in the Civic Arena before a record crowd of 3,654 fans.

1957 - The Vernon Canadians senior mens team of the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League, win leagues, Willougby Cup.

1959 - The Vernon Canadians senior mens team of the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League, win leagues, Willougby Cup.

1961 - The Vernon Canadians senior mens team of the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League, win leagues, Willougby Cup.
- Later in the year the Vernon Canadians and the OSAHL folded. A noteable player emerged from that team , whom many Vernon Jr. A hockey fans will recognize, was Norman "Odie" Lowe Jr. Odie would, after retiring from senior hockey, he became a long time coach of the Vernon Jr. A teams(1961 to 1973).
- Vernon Junior Canadians begin play in the newly formed Okanagan-Mainline Junior Hockey League

  • MISSING HERE IS INFORMATION ON THE VERNON JUNIOR B TEAM AND THE LEAGUE FOR WHICH THEY PLAYED IF YOU HAVE THAT INFO PLEASE SEND IT TO ME...
    EMAIL: vernonjrahockey "at" shaw "dot" ca

Top

Top