If you’ve participated in a youth or adult tournament with CHE, you may or may not have noticed that there is always a Lefty Wilson Division. Since 2002 we’ve made a point of commemorating the great man who graced our office and tournaments with his humor, good nature and wonderful stories.
Lefty was the trainer for the Detroit Red Wings from 1950-1982 and was instrumental in the adoption of goalie masks, including Terry Sawchuk’s iconic mask covered in stitches. He also served as the emergency backup goalie and played 3 NHL games; 1 for the Red Wings, 1 for the opposing Toronto Maple Leafs and 1 for the opposing Boston Bruins. As you can see by his closed eyes in the Red Wings picture, he wasn’t terribly fond of getting hit by the puck.
In 1987 Lefty joined the CHE staff. He was our designated trainer during tournaments, which primarily consisted of him telling players they weren’t actually hurt and to get back up. He helped us put together meal tickets in the office, often bruising his hand from the incessant stapling, to the point where we bought him the automatic stapler which we still use today. More than anything, he provided staff and customers with a never ending string of laughs. With patented G rated lines such as “go scrub your kilt”, “lord love a duck” and “keep your head up kid” as he raised his left fist and pointed the stub of his right index finger at you.
Everyone who every knew or met Lefty misses him dearly, especially the staff at CHE. So if you get a chance today, have a drink in his honor but don’t forget to say his patented toast: “Over the lips and past the gums, look out liver here she comes!”
We miss you Lefty.
Everyone at Canadian Hockey Enterprises
The two best things about working for Canadian Hockey Enterprises are the fantastic places we get to travel to, and seeing how passionate people are about hockey. It doesn’t matter if I’m witnessing the joy on a girls face as she gets chased around the ice by Meghan Agosta, or the massive smile on the face of the captain of a men’s’ team when we present the Lefty Wilson Championship trophy, the passion and excitement is the same and it’s inspiring. But like anything, when you’re constantly surrounded by it you tend to not notice it.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I peeked out at the game on Rink 2 at Isatis Sport Chambly on April 26th to watch The Cowboys from Barrie take on Strange Brew from Newcastle in the opening game of the 35+ division. Both teams had been to Montreal before and there wasn’t anything particularly special about the game, except for the player wearing number 5 for the Cowboys. Dave Gillham has a great stride and plays a sounds positional game on D, but as a member of Strange Brew breaks down his wing, Dave throws himself on the ice and takes out puck and player. Not the most graceful play, but he gets the job done.
You see, Dave had an electrocution accident at work and lost both of his arms, a setback that would have stopped most people from playing any sports at all, but not Dave. A lifelong player, Dave had to basically learn the game from scratch and luckily he had a great group of guys to help him do that. In the words of his captain Leonard Del Duca “he is my HERO!”, and the rest of the Cowboys feel the same and are more than happy to have on the team. A couple of guys help him get dressed before the game, and when they pass to Dave they have to make sure to follow the pass so Dave can get it back to them just like a soccer play. He blocks shots, chases down players and will literally throw himself in the way of anything if it will help the team.
And help the team he did as the Cowboys went on to win the Holiday Inn Midtown Championship trophy, but the true winners that weekend was anyone who had a chance to speak with Dave and his teammates. That kind of passion for hockey combined with the camaraderie of his teammates and opponents was inspiring to everyone in Montreal that weekend. You can read a more thorough article on Dave’s journey here and a great 16:9 video here.
Canadian Hockey Enterprises
Doug Fioroni and the Generals limped into Montreal, and the Canadian Cup expecting to have a great time as they usually do, and the unexpected happened…they won!
After 20 years participating in CHE tournaments in Niagara Falls, Florida and Montreal the Generals are already planning a Quebec City next year…they love Quebec! BTW the Generals are from Mike Kitchen territory near Bradford north of Toronto…so sad to hear of the passing of Bill Kitchen…I couldn’t believe that as I played against Bill for many years…we need to cherish our times on the planet and as Canadians we are lucky we have the great game of hockey to stay focused on friends, family and talking / playing hockey…what do the other countries do in the winter!!
Players on the Generals were going down memory lane that “they had hair ” when they first started with CHE! I started recalling many of our first Montreal tourneys and remarked that after 26 years the only thing that really changed in Montreal was we have a WORLD CLASS brand spanking new arena complex, Isatis Sport Chambly Complex to showcase our tournament. Gone are the smelly rinks we used in Montreal for years, bad ice and incredibly bad food that no one ever ate. What a difference..CHE is really committed at bringing quality facilities to our customers..check out the difference with CHE…congrats goes out to Stephane Malouin and his staff..
See you next year in Quebec City Doug…remember…the other teams are getting old too..
Canadian Hockey Enterprises
Its spring again in Canada and with the anticipation of exchanging our jackets and boots for shorts and sandals it’s always a great time of year for us as Canadians. The snow is melting, the neighbourhood streets are full of people and although the hockey season might be over, there are plenty of sports on TV to keep us occupied. The NCAA March Madness and NHL playoffs are action packed, baseball is back and the Masters always reminds us that golf season is just around the corner. But there’s one sport that caught my eye this spring like never before; The Women’s World Hockey Championships, and the future of women’s hockey is bright.
In front of a crowd of over 18,000 screaming fans in Ottawa, the US and Canadian Women’s national teams put on the most exciting hockey game I’ve watched all year. Continue reading
As the owner of CHE I was joined by our celeb staff Gilles Gilbert, former NHL All Star goalie, and Adam Collins, former European star player, in Canada’s Capital City and I enjoyed the weekend as much as the participants. The U of Ottawa double rink ice was amazing, the NHL game between the Sens and Tampa Bay was a hit and the tournament games and divisions were close. The first teams to arrive were the boys from Uxbridge and Sudbury who rolled into Ottawa in their own buses ready to rock! And they ROCKED!
The Sudbury team had a very inspirational player who was a former pro and Sudbury Wolve. This former Sudbury Wolves captain had 87 points in the 1995-96 season and broke his leg in 2008 as a professional. 3 years later he had to make the decision to amputate or live in pain. Check his story here.
Way to go Sean it was a pleasure meeting you.
Paul Crowley-President CHE