Friday, June 22, 2018

1941/42 Pacific Coast Senior Hockey Association, Part 3

Victoria Bapcos netminder, Laurel Harney
After an impressive two wins to kick off the campaign, the Vancouver Norvan Shipyards squad had dropped five consecutive games. After losing a tightly contested affair by a score of 3-1 in Victoria on Nov. 29, the Norvans proceeded up-island and were dismantled the next night by the Nanaimo Clippers by a tune of 10-7. The Daily Colonist described; "
Up-Islanders Score 10-7 Decision Over Norvans in Coast Hockey League Fixture on Mainland – Net Eight Goals in Third Period VANCOUVER- Nanaimo Clippers climbed into third place in the Pacific Coast Intermediate Amateur Hockey League tonight when they came from behind to trounce Vancouver Norvans, 10-7. The win pulled Clippers a point above Norvans, who dropped down into the cellar spot. Norvans held  wide edge on play during the first two periods, but lost Goalie George Hart late in the second. Hart went off with a badly cut eye when struck by a stick during a melee near the Vancouver goal."
However, before the Norvans could even contemplate righting the ship on the ice, history happened.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour threw the entire West coast of North America into a state of panic and readiness. The Daily Colonist on Dec. 9, 1941 reported on how the situation affected something as menial as a hockey game;
"Blackouts to Continue As Long as Threat of Enemy Attack Remains
Coastal Cities Darkened as Japanese Aircraft Are Reported Off California and Near the Aleutian Islands- Authorities Warn Violations of Regulations Will Not Be Permitted. Prospects of blacked-out nights extending indefinitely into the future were a reality for Victorians this morning as they emerged, none the worse from the experience from their first real enemy air raid threat. The blackout embraced all the coastal cities in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. In this province the measures  were taken on the receipt of information that an air attack on the Pacific Northwest Coast was imminent. The Western Air Command also ordered larger broadcasting stations in Alberta and Saskatchewan shut down. All stations on the Pacific Coast, except one Seattle station, signed off at 9 p.m. The reason for the order, as explained by a regional director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, was that ‘it was reported on good authority that a Japanese flight of planes was coming in on the Pacific Coast; we did not want them to ride in on our beam’. Automobiles, trucks and motorcycles were permitted to reappear on the streets when they complied with certain instructions, issued in an order by Premier Pattullo, by virtue of the authority conferred on him under the Defence of Canada Regulations. The order follows:‘Complete blackout of all lights and radio communications on Vancouver Island and the whole Coast of British Columbia and the Lower Mainland will be carried out from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. each night until further orders. Places of amusement and business establishments will extinguish all outside lights, including electric signs, and inside lights must be arranged to show the minimum possible to the outdoors.’"
Frightening times indeed, "Attack on the Pacific Northwest was imminent".  The following day the paper continued describing the situation;
Coast Hockey League Games Are Held Up President Awaiting Word From Military Authorities- May Play Here
President Jack Ryan, of the Pacific Coast Intermediate Hockey League, said today he was awaiting information from military authorities before making a decision as to whther league games should be continued for the remainder of the season in the blackout. Workmen were busy yesterday at the Willows Arena painting windows and skylights and, according to H.B. ‘Barney’ Olson, managing director, not a speck of light is now visible from the outside of the building. Everything possible, Mr. Olson stated, is being done to comply with the blackout regulations, and I feel certain the game with Vancouver Norvans and Victoria Bapcos will be played.  VANCOUVER-Blackout orders on the Pacific Coast have forced cancellation of tonight’s hockey game between New Westminster Spitfires and Victoria Bapcos at New Westminster, Doug Grimston, vice-president of the British Columbia Hockey Association, announced today. ‘We thought it was the best thing to do,’ Grimston said. ‘However once we get used to the strangeness of the blackout we’ll start running our games again.’ Last night’s game between Bapcos and Vancouver Norvans at the Vancouver Forum was canceled, and the Victoria team, which had arrived here, ordered home."
As things got real on the Pacific Coast, the amateur hockey league of the same name attempted to trudge forward in an effort to provide entertainment for the panicked populace. By Dec. 12, the teams were ready to get back in action after all necessary blackout precautions had been implemented;
"New Players Here Tonight With Norvans Vancouver Hockey Club Strengthened for Fixture With Victoria Bapcos
Officials of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey League and rink managers have hung out the old ‘business as usual’ sign and play will continue as per schedule in Victoria on Friday night when Vancouver Norvans tangle with Bapcos of the Capital City. When Norvans take the ice against Bapcos tomorrow night they will show a line-up considerably altered to the squad that faced the Capital City team in their last meeting. Three new players will accompany Vancouver to Victoria. Bolstering the defence department is Barney Barneski, from Trail, while the  forward line will be aided by the services of two former Turner Valley Oilers, Johnny Ursaki, who will show at centre, and Norm McQuade, taking over a spot at left wing. While putting a temporary halt to hockey, the blackout actually was appreciated by the injury-riddled Norvans. It gave their crippled players a rest and a chance to mend and also time to line up some new material in an attempt to pull out of the cellar, where they are currently stationed."
The thinking was that the unexpected break in league play may do the floundering Norvans some good, in addition to allowing their injured players to heal they brought in additional talent in an effort to stem the tide of losses. It didn't work, as the Colonist outlined the following day;
"Victoria Registers Fifth Straight Win By Beating Norvans For Coach Tip O’Neil’s Norvans it was also six straight defeats. Beaten on their first Victoria appearance some time ago, the Norvans have found it extremely difficult to again climb aboard the winning van. Victoria Bapcos, despite their 3-1 score, did not dominate the play, but they displayed considerably more finish than the boys from the North Shore. Norvans went along very nicely until they passed the blueline and met the Victoria defence that spelled trouble and a lot of hard work. Spectacular goal tending was the order of the evening with teen-aged Tommy Horne guarding the nets for Vancouver Norvans and Laurel Harney, Victoria Bapcos’ net custodian each receiving their share of the applause from the fans."
Nanaimo vs Victoria in action prior to the blackout hiatus
The following night in Nanaimo, the Norvans dropped a tough 2-1 decision to the Clippers to run their losing streak to seven games. There was the bright spot of the goaltending of young Tommy Horne who had allowed only five markers over the two losses. Perhaps a turnaround was forthcoming for the Norvans.
Standings on Dec. 14, 1941

Next up, righting the good ship Norvans.

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