Victoria Cougars 1952
Here's another great old hockey photo, this one found in the online Victoria, BC Archives. It's simply titled "Victoria Cougars players with boy in trench coat, 1952". Looking at the Society for International Hockey Research player photo database, it's fairly easy to determine the three players in the photo. From Left to Right; Bernie Strongman, Eddie Mazur, James Fodey.
Winnipeg native, Bernie Strongman played for Victoria from 1949 through 1953 when he retired. He had helped the Cougars win the Lester Patrick Cup as champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. According to the Society for International Hockey Research database, Strongman is alive to this day, having turned 99 years old in June.
Eddie Mazur played two full seasons with Victoria before being called up by the Montreal Canadiens for the 1951 Stanley Cup playoffs. After potting 43 goals for the Cougars, Mazur got into two matches for the Habs that spring, the year they lost to Bill Barilko's Maple Leafs. After helping Montreal win the 1953 Stanley Cup (scoring 4 points in 7 playoff games), Mazur would play a full season with the Canadiens in 1953/54, tallying 21 points over 67 games.
On the right we have goaltender Jerry Fodey, and his very presence helps nail down the date of this photo. Although the file of the photo says 1952, Jerry Fodey played but one season for Victoria, 1949/50. Strongman and Mazur both played that season as well, so the photo must be form the 49/50 campaign. That year the Cougars finished sixth and a distant last place in the PCHL's North Division, Fodey playing all but one of the 70 games while posting a somewhat respectable 4.29 GAA.
The Victoria Cougars name, which had originated in 1922 with the Patrick brothers in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and transferred to the Detroit Cougars in 1926 (and eventually the Red Wings) would last in the Western League until 1961. The name was re-incarnated in the BCJHL in 1967, the major junior WCHL/WHL in 1971 and finally the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Junior B circuit from 2002 to present.