Senior hockey in the late 1950’s was the best hockey outside on the NHL. With the NHL having just 6 teams, the surplus of talent largely stayed close to home often making more money playing Senior hockey than they could earn as a pro. The 1959-60 Chatham Maroons were perhaps the greatest ‘amateur’ team ever assembled. They emerged as champions of their incredibly tough loop that was made up of the Kitchener Dutchmen (The team sent to represent Canada at the 1960 Olympics) , Whitby Dunlops (1958 World Champions), Belleville McFarlands (1959 World Champions) and long time local rivals the Windsor Bulldogs. The addition of future NHL goalie Cesare Maniago was the final piece of the puzzle that set them off on their playoff run. They won the Allan Cup defeating the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0-1 with every game being played in Trail BC. Due to the lack of funds, the Maroons opted not to represent Canada at the World’s the following year and Trail went in their place where they became the last Canadian amateur club to win the world title. The Smoke Eaters may be more famous but the Maroons were the better team.
I got this puck from Jim Connelly who was a star forward with the Maroons and perhaps one of the greatest hockey players you’ve not likely heard of. Not only was he part of an Allan Cup championship team, he played for the 1952 Guelph Biltmores who won the Memorial Cup in 1952 and was an add-on player for the Dutchmen and represented Canada at the 1960 Olympics where they went 6-1 winning the Silver medal. A 2-1 upset loss to the Americans deprived them of the gold. By the time he left the Maroons, he was the league’s leading all-time goal scorer. Jim’s love of the game kept him playing until his 79th birthday when he finally retired from the London ‘Huff ‘N Puff’ league.
A very rare puck and one of my most prized possessions.