One of Prince Edward Island’s top hockey teams will take their spot with the province’s best squads next week.
The 1964-65 Saint Dunstan’s University Saints will be inducted into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 24. They will join the 1921-23 Charlottetown Abegweit, the Summerside Crystal Sisters, 1970-71 Prince Edward Islanders Hockey C, the 1990-91 Charlottetown Armour Fence Islanders and the 1996-97 Summerside Western Capitals as the only hockey teams to be inducted in the hall.
The 1964-65 Saints won Saint Dunstan’s first Maritime intercollegiate championship since 1946-47. The squad was blessed with the arrival of Bill MacMillan, already an Island-born star with the St. Michael’s Majors in the Ontario Hockey League. The junior star returned home and led Saint Dunstan’s to their second and final title. He led the Maritime conference in scoring with a record 22 goals and 41 points and just three years later he would be playing under Father David Bauer and winning a bronze medal for Canada in the 1968 Winter Olympics.
There were several other stars on the Saints that season under coach Jack Kane Jr. Saint Dunstan’s went 10-1 to capture first place, six points ahead of second-place St. F.X.
Fans, including priests on the campus, would jam into the UPEI rink. Sometimes as many as 1,800 a night came to see the local heroes in action. There was no glass around boards in those days. Chicken wire was used to protect the crowds and keep the puck inside the ice surface.
Four members of the team would later become coaches with the UPEI Panthers. Players Jack Hynes, Vince Mulligan, Bill MacMillan and Gordie Whitlock would all return as coaches.
MacMillan, a forward, and Mulligan, a defenceman, were named first team all-stars in the conference while Whitlock, a forward, made the second team.
“We had a good team that year with guys like Dick Tingley and we were winning a lot of games,” Whitlock said. “When Billy MacMillan came we were really building toward something.”
Whitlock said the Saints were an eager bunch.
“Vincey (Mulligan) was our heart and soul guy and it was a good group.”
There were about a dozen native Islanders on the team. One of them was Mike Kelly, who would also make a name for himself as a standout baseball player. He was so good he received a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Saint Dunstan’s began the season 9-0 but lost on the final weekend of the regular season to St. Thomas. A 6-5 win at St. FX in Antigonish, N.S., clinched first place and the Maritimes conference. There were no playoffs and the Saints travelled to Winnipeg for the national championships.
George MacNeill was a standout in a 3-1 come-from-behind effort against Sir George Williams of Montreal in the opening game. Whitlock, Kelly and MacMillan provided the Saint Dunstan’s goals.
The Saints reached the finals against the host University of Manitoba, which was a big team that cruised to a 9-2 victory.
“The Kanes never have paid attention to winning. It burns me more to remember the losses,” said Jack Kane, whose father coached the Saints to the 1947 championship. “Having said that, it was a difficult chore just to get out of our own conference.”
Several of the Saints gathered for the 50th anniversary of the Maritime championship in 2015 with plenty of fond memories. The Saints were honored during a night of champions prior to the UPEI-St. FX game on Jan. 23, 2015, at the MacLauchlan Arena. Eight members of the Saints including coach Kane, Mulligan and Whitlock took part in the pre-game ceremonies along with Bev Kelly, widow of Mike Kelly.
The team in the attached photo included, first row, from left, Mike Harley, Rex McCarville, Derrel Pollock, Gordie Whitlock, Vince Mulligan, Mike Kelly, Andre Gelinas and George MacNeill. Second row, coach Jack Kane, trainer Dave O'Connell, Jack Hynes, Maurice Roy, George Monaghan, Yvon St. Arnaud, Glen Hughes, Arthur LeClair, Denis DeCarufel, George MacMillan, Billy MacMillan and manager Jim Levy.
– Compiled by Dave Holland, Queens County director for the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame.
Need to know
A look at the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame 2017 induction ceremony.
When – Friday, Nov. 24. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Where – Rodd Royalty
Tickets – $40 each and they are available at Sport P.E.I.