The Moncton Beavers, hockey, 1960-1961

Team Members (1960-61):  

Back Row (L-R): Ron Gaudet, Nick Nicolle, Doug Hillman, Lloyd ‘Toy Toy’ Gallant, Buddy MacIntyre, Darryl Pollack, John Warden, John Lorden

Front Row (L-R): Alfie Flanagan, Phil Doiron, Gene Gaudet, Emery ‘The Cat’ Goguen. Oscar Gaudet, Delphis Legacy

Missing from Photo: Vince Mulligan, Billy Mulligan, Bernie Keating, Keith Blenkhorn

Moncton Junior Beavers 1960-61

There were three Junior A teams in New Brunswick during the 1960-61 hockey season: Newcastle, Fredericton and Moncton. The Beavers defeated Newcastle in three straight games for the right to meet the Fredericton Caps for the New Brunswick title. Then they defeated Fredericton in straight games, outscoring the Capitals 29-10 in the series.

The Beavers then won the Maritime Junior A championship in 1961, defeating the Nova Scotia winners, the Dartmouth Industrial Marine Union Juniors from Dartmouth, NS two games to one. After losing game one 4-3 in Halifax, the Beavers fired over 120 shots at the Dartmouth net in two games, outscoring their opponents 21-6 in Moncton.

They went on to play the Quebec Junior winner, the Trois Riviére Reds, who had defeated Pembroke to get into the Eastern semi-finals. It was a hard fought five game series, won by Moncton in game five by a score of 5-1. The first four games saw the series tied at two games apiece, with the goal total evenly split at 20 for each club.

The Eastern finals were played against the Father David Bauer coached Saint Michael’s Majors, who had dominated the OHA for the entire season. Although they lost in three straight games to the St. Mike’s team, the Beavers played well in the early going during all three games at Maple Leaf Gardens, the largest ice surface on which the Beavers had played, before succumbing to the powerhouse squad from Toronto, who would go on to win the Memorial Cup against Edmonton 4 games to 2. That Memorial Cup winning team boasted two future NHL goalkeepers in Gerry Cheevers and Dave Dryden, as well as several other future NHL skaters. Over time, they simply wore the Beavers down.

However, the Moncton Beavers squad was the first Maritime team to make it to the Eastern Memorial Cup finals in 27 years … a tremendous feat in itself and one that would bode well for the future of junior hockey, indeed all competitive hockey within the Maritimes. Up to the late 1950s, there were between 20-25 Junior A calibre teams in the three provinces … but by 1960-62, the total number of leagues in the three provinces was zero and the number of teams was down to six, most operating as independents. After the success of Moncton in reaching the Memorial Cup Eastern finals, interest in junior hockey improved, although it would not be until two years later, in 1963-64, after a subsequent series between the Maritime and Quebec champions involving the Halifax Kingfishers and Ottawa Montagnards, one game of which was televised by CBC, that hockey would rebound to the situation we have today with seven Maritime teams in the QMJHL, plus another dozen in Junior A (MJAHL), as well as junior B and C leagues, actually surpassing the heyday of junior and senior of the 1940s-50s. The performance of the 60-61 Beavers in Memorial Cup play was exceptional and that was the very beginning of the resurgence in Maritime Junior hockey.

In fact, three players from the 60-61 Moncton team: Oscar Gaudet, Alfie Flanagan and Lloyd “Toy Toy” Gallant, were among those added to the 61-62 Kingfishers team for the Eastern Canadian Memorial Cup playoffs … and after those two successive, and very successful years, interest in junior hockey in the region never looked back, with two Maritime teams (and three from the Q league) winning the Memorial Cup in the last five years. Thus the 60-61 Beavers team have been inducted into the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame; and all four players who performed on both teams from 60-62 would become double inductees for the 2014-15 inaugural class of the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame.

 

 

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