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Hockey in the Nicola Valley (1941-1960)
The Ice Carnival held last week was a great financial help to juvenile hockey players. Among the many events was a pair of hockey games. In the Bantam and Midget category, David Moyes' team beat Roy Josephson's team 2-1 with goals scored by J. Hardy, V. Martin and James Shaw. The Juveniles match-up saw Bill Hogg's team down Joe Van Bergen's team by a score of 5-3.

This last week there was a meeting held to plan for the upcoming hockey season. It is hoped that there will be teams from organizations such as the High School, the Town, the Firemen and the I.O.O.F. Lodge.

The repairs on the arena should be done soon and will open for the season under the management of Joe Frazer.

A large group of players from Merritt formed a pickup team to play an Indian team at Quilchena Reserve. The game was played on a slough, as has all the hockey so far this season, since the rink is still without ice. The final score was 12-2 in favour of the Merritt boys, but the Quilchena team is showing some great potential.

The Quilchena hockey team is doing much better this year, as was shown when they beat the Kamloops Residential School by a score of 3-2 in Kamloops. Goals for Quilchena were scored by Michel Tom and Willie McLeod.

A 3-3 tie was the result of a hard-fought battle between Merritt and Ashcroft Junior hockey teams. The hockey game was as rough as a rivalry, and there was no shortage of penalties, such as the one given to Bill McCreight for defending his goaltender. Hoggan managed to score two goals, both assisted by Ingleby.

The bad weather did not seem to bother the hockey players this week when the Merritt club was victorious over Princeton. Merritt goals were scored by Maurice Hunter and Gerald Ingleby.

Work has officially started on the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Mayor Collett turned the first sod, after the High School band led the way. Much of the work is being done by volunteers, and this, combined with the donations that are being received, shows just how willing the citizens of this City are to work to better the community.

The Nicola Valley Memorial Arena is officially open. P.A. Gaglardi, Minister of Highways, conducted the ceremonies and many dignitaries from the area also spoke. After the ceremonies, the Penticton Skating Club put on a performance and the first hockey game was also played. Dr. J.J. Gillis dropped the puck to start the game, and Ron Sherwood was able to snag the first puck that was shot into the stands.

In an intense game on Sunday, the Merritt hockey team was victorious over the powerful Penticton team. Although the team will admit luck did play a factor, determination and great teamwork had their say in the outcome as well. Goals for Merritt were scored by Jim Fleming, Henry Dufault, Angus Archachan, and Walter Archachan. Coach Fleming deserves praise for being able to lead his team to victory over a team that most people would have thought was right out of Merritt's league.

The Merritt team stepped their playing up a notch when they played Princeton on Saturday. The game started out rough when M. Ferguson started a fight with a Princeton players, and did not become any gentler as the game progressed. However, some good hockey was played between the shoves and the punches and Merritt came out on top by a difference of four goals. Merritt goalie Doug Hogg was in top form with his new plastic face shield, which is reported to have saved him some blood.

Merritt Grand Luckies admitted into the Okanagan Senior Hockey League. The Luckies lasted until November 7, 1960 before folding with a 1-9-0-0 record. Merritt scored 31 goals for and allowed 81 during the ten games.

(Fall/Winter 2005). Sports in the Nicola Valley 1941-1960. Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly. Vol. 20, No. 1 & 2.