Those nights at Mountain Arena

News Jul 07, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

After 38 years, mostly at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena, the Hamilton Red Wings (previously the Kilty B’s) have departed for Markham.

Hamilton Community News reporter Mark Newman shares his recollections and thoughts on the team in the first of a four-part weekly series.

As someone who has covered junior hockey in Hamilton since the mid ’80s I was saddened to see the Hamilton Red Wings leave for Markham. But the move also gives me a chance to put down some of my reflections for the record.

The Hamilton Kilty B’s, which later became the Red Wings, was started by Hamilton sports medicine pioneer Dr. Bob McMillan (who ought to be in the Hamilton Sports Hall-of-Fame as a builder, but that’s a subject for another time) and Bob Nichols and supported by dozens and dozens of loyal volunteers from team directors to the stick boy.

Doc McMillan was the team president for many years and Nichols was the club’s first general manager.

Both had been around local junior hockey for years with the former F-C (Finochio-Cupido) Red Wings and Fincup B’s and wanted to continue to provide an opportunity for elite players coming out of Hamilton minor hockey to play at the junior level.

Nichols said the team wore red sweaters made of wool that first season but got rid of them because the players were complaining about how wet and heavy they would get through the course of a game.

And it was not uncommon to see McMillan attending to players who had been injured during the game or even stitching up the odd fan who got hit by an errant puck.

In the ’80s and early ’90s there was no protective netting and the side glass on the boards at Mountain Arena was not very high and anyone sitting in the middle rows always had to be wary of flying pucks.

Speaking of the Hester Street rink, it was managed through much of the Kiltys’ glory era by Ed Pavao, who now works for a private sector sports group.

Ed was not only the arena manager but was a big hockey fan and always supported the team.

He was the one who arranged to have the old wooden benches taken out and replaced by the single blue seats that are there today.

Those seats came from the grandstand at now long gone Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

To this day the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena remains one of the best old-style rinks to watch a game. Unlike the fan-unfriendly multiplexes that often feature some seating on the side or one end, the Mountain rink has about 1,700 seats surrounding the ice (I counted them once) plus standing room for about 500–600 more.

Anyway, McMillan and Nichols were adamant that most if not all of the players should come from Hamilton or the Greater Hamilton Area and they always took a dim view of nepotism or favouritism.

Mountain business operator Peter Martin, who was team president in the late ’90s, told me he had been approached by some folks who indicated they would offer up some sponsorship money if certain players looking to try-out for the team were given a little extra consideration.

Martin said the team paid no heed to those offers.

When the Kiltys won their first and only Golden Horseshoe Junior B championship in 1993 the first thing Doc noted when I asked him for a comment was that all of the players on the roster were local.

Game seven of the series final against Welland was played on a Sunday afternoon and I was doing the public address announcing.

Anticipating a large crowd I arrived early at Mountain Arena to find people lined up out the front door (the main entrance faced Hester Street in those days) and down the sidewalk toward Upper James.

More than 2,000 people crammed into the rink that day to see the Kiltys, coached by Glenn Walsh and featuring some amazing players, pull off the win.

Some young people even climbed on the metal support beams to watch the action; they were literally hanging from the rafters.

After winning the championship the Kiltys had the unenviable task of facing a team from Barrie that had gone unbeaten during the regular season and unfortunately lost in the next round.

The following season the Kiltys moved up to the Provincial Junior A loop.

Nichols said they had no choice because if they didn’t move up they risked losing players to Burlington and Oakville, who had also gone to Junior A.

Once again the Kiltys rose to the occasion and won their first Provincial Junior A West championship in six games over Oakville.

I had the privilege of doing the play-by-play for that game on Cable 14, ably assisted by former Kiltys head coach Jerry Andreatta. I would be later joined by Jerry’s former assistant coach Scott Lisko on the Cable 14 broadcasts. The games were taped and replayed in the early ’90s and then carried live in 1994 and 1995.

It was my hope the play-by-play experience would give me a good shot at working on the broadcast crew if and when Hamilton landed an NHL franchise.

And we all know how that turned out.

 Watch for part two of this series on July 14

Those nights at Mountain Arena

Junior hockey on Hester Street will be missed

News Jul 07, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

After 38 years, mostly at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena, the Hamilton Red Wings (previously the Kilty B’s) have departed for Markham.

Hamilton Community News reporter Mark Newman shares his recollections and thoughts on the team in the first of a four-part weekly series.

As someone who has covered junior hockey in Hamilton since the mid ’80s I was saddened to see the Hamilton Red Wings leave for Markham. But the move also gives me a chance to put down some of my reflections for the record.

The Hamilton Kilty B’s, which later became the Red Wings, was started by Hamilton sports medicine pioneer Dr. Bob McMillan (who ought to be in the Hamilton Sports Hall-of-Fame as a builder, but that’s a subject for another time) and Bob Nichols and supported by dozens and dozens of loyal volunteers from team directors to the stick boy.

Related Content

Doc McMillan was the team president for many years and Nichols was the club’s first general manager.

Both had been around local junior hockey for years with the former F-C (Finochio-Cupido) Red Wings and Fincup B’s and wanted to continue to provide an opportunity for elite players coming out of Hamilton minor hockey to play at the junior level.

Nichols said the team wore red sweaters made of wool that first season but got rid of them because the players were complaining about how wet and heavy they would get through the course of a game.

And it was not uncommon to see McMillan attending to players who had been injured during the game or even stitching up the odd fan who got hit by an errant puck.

In the ’80s and early ’90s there was no protective netting and the side glass on the boards at Mountain Arena was not very high and anyone sitting in the middle rows always had to be wary of flying pucks.

Speaking of the Hester Street rink, it was managed through much of the Kiltys’ glory era by Ed Pavao, who now works for a private sector sports group.

Ed was not only the arena manager but was a big hockey fan and always supported the team.

He was the one who arranged to have the old wooden benches taken out and replaced by the single blue seats that are there today.

Those seats came from the grandstand at now long gone Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

To this day the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena remains one of the best old-style rinks to watch a game. Unlike the fan-unfriendly multiplexes that often feature some seating on the side or one end, the Mountain rink has about 1,700 seats surrounding the ice (I counted them once) plus standing room for about 500–600 more.

Anyway, McMillan and Nichols were adamant that most if not all of the players should come from Hamilton or the Greater Hamilton Area and they always took a dim view of nepotism or favouritism.

Mountain business operator Peter Martin, who was team president in the late ’90s, told me he had been approached by some folks who indicated they would offer up some sponsorship money if certain players looking to try-out for the team were given a little extra consideration.

Martin said the team paid no heed to those offers.

When the Kiltys won their first and only Golden Horseshoe Junior B championship in 1993 the first thing Doc noted when I asked him for a comment was that all of the players on the roster were local.

Game seven of the series final against Welland was played on a Sunday afternoon and I was doing the public address announcing.

Anticipating a large crowd I arrived early at Mountain Arena to find people lined up out the front door (the main entrance faced Hester Street in those days) and down the sidewalk toward Upper James.

More than 2,000 people crammed into the rink that day to see the Kiltys, coached by Glenn Walsh and featuring some amazing players, pull off the win.

Some young people even climbed on the metal support beams to watch the action; they were literally hanging from the rafters.

After winning the championship the Kiltys had the unenviable task of facing a team from Barrie that had gone unbeaten during the regular season and unfortunately lost in the next round.

The following season the Kiltys moved up to the Provincial Junior A loop.

Nichols said they had no choice because if they didn’t move up they risked losing players to Burlington and Oakville, who had also gone to Junior A.

Once again the Kiltys rose to the occasion and won their first Provincial Junior A West championship in six games over Oakville.

I had the privilege of doing the play-by-play for that game on Cable 14, ably assisted by former Kiltys head coach Jerry Andreatta. I would be later joined by Jerry’s former assistant coach Scott Lisko on the Cable 14 broadcasts. The games were taped and replayed in the early ’90s and then carried live in 1994 and 1995.

It was my hope the play-by-play experience would give me a good shot at working on the broadcast crew if and when Hamilton landed an NHL franchise.

And we all know how that turned out.

 Watch for part two of this series on July 14

Those nights at Mountain Arena

Junior hockey on Hester Street will be missed

News Jul 07, 2015 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

After 38 years, mostly at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena, the Hamilton Red Wings (previously the Kilty B’s) have departed for Markham.

Hamilton Community News reporter Mark Newman shares his recollections and thoughts on the team in the first of a four-part weekly series.

As someone who has covered junior hockey in Hamilton since the mid ’80s I was saddened to see the Hamilton Red Wings leave for Markham. But the move also gives me a chance to put down some of my reflections for the record.

The Hamilton Kilty B’s, which later became the Red Wings, was started by Hamilton sports medicine pioneer Dr. Bob McMillan (who ought to be in the Hamilton Sports Hall-of-Fame as a builder, but that’s a subject for another time) and Bob Nichols and supported by dozens and dozens of loyal volunteers from team directors to the stick boy.

Related Content

Doc McMillan was the team president for many years and Nichols was the club’s first general manager.

Both had been around local junior hockey for years with the former F-C (Finochio-Cupido) Red Wings and Fincup B’s and wanted to continue to provide an opportunity for elite players coming out of Hamilton minor hockey to play at the junior level.

Nichols said the team wore red sweaters made of wool that first season but got rid of them because the players were complaining about how wet and heavy they would get through the course of a game.

And it was not uncommon to see McMillan attending to players who had been injured during the game or even stitching up the odd fan who got hit by an errant puck.

In the ’80s and early ’90s there was no protective netting and the side glass on the boards at Mountain Arena was not very high and anyone sitting in the middle rows always had to be wary of flying pucks.

Speaking of the Hester Street rink, it was managed through much of the Kiltys’ glory era by Ed Pavao, who now works for a private sector sports group.

Ed was not only the arena manager but was a big hockey fan and always supported the team.

He was the one who arranged to have the old wooden benches taken out and replaced by the single blue seats that are there today.

Those seats came from the grandstand at now long gone Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

To this day the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena remains one of the best old-style rinks to watch a game. Unlike the fan-unfriendly multiplexes that often feature some seating on the side or one end, the Mountain rink has about 1,700 seats surrounding the ice (I counted them once) plus standing room for about 500–600 more.

Anyway, McMillan and Nichols were adamant that most if not all of the players should come from Hamilton or the Greater Hamilton Area and they always took a dim view of nepotism or favouritism.

Mountain business operator Peter Martin, who was team president in the late ’90s, told me he had been approached by some folks who indicated they would offer up some sponsorship money if certain players looking to try-out for the team were given a little extra consideration.

Martin said the team paid no heed to those offers.

When the Kiltys won their first and only Golden Horseshoe Junior B championship in 1993 the first thing Doc noted when I asked him for a comment was that all of the players on the roster were local.

Game seven of the series final against Welland was played on a Sunday afternoon and I was doing the public address announcing.

Anticipating a large crowd I arrived early at Mountain Arena to find people lined up out the front door (the main entrance faced Hester Street in those days) and down the sidewalk toward Upper James.

More than 2,000 people crammed into the rink that day to see the Kiltys, coached by Glenn Walsh and featuring some amazing players, pull off the win.

Some young people even climbed on the metal support beams to watch the action; they were literally hanging from the rafters.

After winning the championship the Kiltys had the unenviable task of facing a team from Barrie that had gone unbeaten during the regular season and unfortunately lost in the next round.

The following season the Kiltys moved up to the Provincial Junior A loop.

Nichols said they had no choice because if they didn’t move up they risked losing players to Burlington and Oakville, who had also gone to Junior A.

Once again the Kiltys rose to the occasion and won their first Provincial Junior A West championship in six games over Oakville.

I had the privilege of doing the play-by-play for that game on Cable 14, ably assisted by former Kiltys head coach Jerry Andreatta. I would be later joined by Jerry’s former assistant coach Scott Lisko on the Cable 14 broadcasts. The games were taped and replayed in the early ’90s and then carried live in 1994 and 1995.

It was my hope the play-by-play experience would give me a good shot at working on the broadcast crew if and when Hamilton landed an NHL franchise.

And we all know how that turned out.

 Watch for part two of this series on July 14