Memories were immortalized at Glacier Gardens on Saturday when a plaque was unveiled commemorating the Laver’s Flyers 1973 B.C. juvenile hockey championship.
Many team members and their family members were on hand for the 40th reunion, and they were joined by other supporters and organizers at the afternoon unveiling.
Jon Ambler, Comox Air Force Museum program manager and volunteer coordinator, was resplendent in a Boston Bruins’ jersey as he greeted the group.
He noted Jackie Green, John Carswell and Al Pullen approached the museum last summer concerning the reunion and all were united in the understanding that community minor hockey is important and that the Flyers victory was, “important, historic and worth celebrating again.”
Ambler passed on greetings from 19 Wing Commander Jim Benninger (who was unable to attend) and praised the work of Bobbi Howard-Muir, 19 Wing Personnel Support Programs Manager, in making the unveiling possible.
Noting some of Canada’s historic hockey milestones, Ambler said, “Hockey is a big deal for us. We invented it, we play it, we follow it, we love it. It defines us. We are at home in the rink.
“Lessons learned on the hockey rink can be applied to everywhere else in life. If you practise and work hard at something you get better at it. If you don’t put in the effort, others who work harder will be better than you,” said Ambler.
“Human beings need to be part of something bigger than themselves. We need to be part of the team. We need to learn to put others first … learn loyalty. There’s a mayor in Toronto who probably should have played hockey,” Ambler said to a chorus of chuckles.
“The Laver’s Flyers, whose victory we celebrate again today, that team knows those lessons. They applied them and they got the results they deserved, right here in this building. We’ve installed a plaque to celebrate their efforts. Most importantly we acknowledge their efforts and their victory, but it also serves as an example of what can be done when we work as a team.”
Carswell, a member of the 1973 championship team, thanked Green for all her efforts with the reunion and plaque unveiling. “It wouldn’t have happened without her,” he said.
He noted the incredible community support the team enjoyed. The arena was always packed when the Flyers played, and Carswell recalled lying on the ice, looking up and seeing a fan who had climbed into the rafters to watch the game.
“We couldn’t have done it without an amazing coach and parents’ support,” he added. Carswell said those unable to attend the reunion sent messages, and there was more than one suggestion that “we should do it again.”
After posing for a team photo with the plaque (and many players wondering what happened to all the hair they had 40 years ago), the reunion attendees headed to the Comox Golf Course to, as Carswell put it, continue to swap stories and lies.
The reunion weekend also included a get-together Friday night at Green’s home, where local dignitaries and celebrities dropped by to pay their respects. Green said it was a great event, with some 100 in attendance.