All kinds of great activities are developing in the world of PEI sports – the Summerside Storm pro basketball start-up and the second season of the Holland College Hurricanes start-up. High level athletics are available with the PEI Rocket and the PEI Privateers. An old standby is healthy and popular – the UPEI hockey Panthers. UPEI men’s and women’s soccer is off to a fast start in Atlantic University Sport. The horsemen saw a great season at the Charlottetown Driving Park and celebrated its history with the 50th Gold Cup Parade dating to 1962.
Those 1960s – we had TV, but just one station, CFCY-TV, and had occasions to see a CFL game, now and then. The big deal was Hockey Night in Canada – including in the Dalton Hall TV room. The French students sat in the back of the TV room and smiled quietly as the Canadiens won three Stanley Cups (in our 4 years). The Maritimers were split 6 different ways until the league exploded to twelve, beginning in the 1967-68 season. The Bostonians sat in the front and cheered enthusiastically for the Bruins and “number 4, Bobby Orr.” The Bruins won the Cup in 1970. But, Canadian and U.S. televised sports were comparatively limited. In Charlottetown, the sports options were plentiful but you had to venture out.
Out on Malpeque Road, St. Dunstan’s joined the “university only” football league in 1965, the Maritime Intercollegiate Athletic Association. In1965 occurred one the greatest sports seasons in PEI sports history as the Saints went to the national championship game in university hockey. The Saints won the Maritime Intercollegiate Hockey League title going 10 – 1. En route to the national championship game, the Saints beat Sir George Williams University of Montreal. They eventually lost the national championship game to the University of Manitoba. The captain of the Saints team that year was Vince Mulligan. He was also a MIAA first team All-Star.
The beautiful recount of Vince’s career, via his daughter’s words for his induction into the PEI Sport Hall of Fame, tell even more of his college playing career: 4 time hockey All-Star, 3 time captain. Segue into UPEI hockey coach: three AUAA championships, AUAA Coach of the Year award, and a coaching record of 115 wins matched against 27 losses. In 1988 the team was ranked number 1 in the country. Segue into soccer: first UPEI team founder and coach, AUAA finals, and AUAA Soccer Coach of the Year.
Vince was and is more than just a player and a coach. He is a personality extraordinaire.
While vacationing with my wife and two young sons (9 & 7) on the Island in 1990, we were looking at Province House. I was lecturing them on Confederation as if I had not really received a 59 from Leo Hacyznski but was nearly an expert. As my historical essay on the subject was straining for subject matter, a voice uttered from a nearby park bench, “Renfro, are you lost?” It was great to see Vince, the first old Island friend I had seen in 14 years. We talked and I explained our goal was now dining (now that I had enriched the family with an oration on the events of 1867). Vince said “Follow me.” Off we were and after a short walk, he took us into the Hotel Charlottetown. He greeted the hostess by name and stated that we were his friends. Vince had other business to do and said his good-byes. We got first class attention and dining and I gave my family the history and lore about Vince, which held their smiles and attention - as if my previous historical accounts were lackluster (ha!).
So, the establishment of the Mulligan Cup is another recognition, well deserved– the St. Dunstan’s Father MacGuigan Memorial Trophy, the PEI Sports Hall of Fame, the Cup, and the future, with fond memories by friends, former team mates, and former players.