When the Western Valley Flyers hockey team was formed late in December 1966, it was never thought that they would become such a high scoring machine and go on to challenge for the Nova Scotia Championship. The team was composed of eleven players from Berwick and seven from Greenwood and were put together largely through the efforts of Bill Franklin and Stu MacDonald of Greenwood and John Prall of Berwick. The Flyers called Berwick Arena thief home and during an ambitious exhibition schedule leading up to the Nova Scotia championships, the aptly named Flyers outscored their opposition 54 to 23.
In mid-February, the Flyers started on their road to destiny. They first disposed of the Cornwallis Midgets by a lop-sided scored and then quickly handed Chester the same fate outscoring them 21 – 6 in a two-game total series to win the Zone C Championship. This entitled the Flyers to advance to the Nova Scotia Midget Provincial Championship tournament held in Truro that year. After eliminating Pictou 5 – 1 in the semi-finals, the Flyers met their season nemesis Windsor in the provincial final. This same Windsor squad had twice defeated the Flyers in exhibition play during the regular season. Western Valley got off to quick start, built upon an early lead and never looked back. Placed by Willis Huntley with three goals and two assists, the Flyers exacted sweet revenge by outclassing the Windsor team 8 – 2 and taking the provincial championship.
This entitled the Western Flyers to represent Nova Scotia at the national championships – the Centennial Midget Hockey Championships held in Kingston, Ontario during the Easter break. The tournament featured the best midget teams from every province and territory. The Flyers finished a very respectful 2 and 3 in their division and displayed a tenacious style of hockey in all their games. An ex-patriot Nova Scotia watching the team in Kingston said of their play:
“Although down by an early 3-goal deficit to the tournament favorites,
largely because of stage fright, from the second period on, a new game
emerged. The Nova Scotian lads met the Toronto team, check for check,
stride for stride….. This club made one proud to be a Nova Scotian.”
Looking back on the experience, the players agreed that the team’s success was the result of superior coaching, strong management, and hard training – often winning by exceptional physical conditioning alone.
1966 – 67 Western Valley Flyers – Nova Scotia/Maritime Midget Hockey Champions
Coach: George Lipkin Managers: Paul Huntley, Doug Earle
Inducted June 2000