Hometown hockey: The Sault Pim Hill Bullies 1930-1937 (5 photos) Monday, December 31, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff.
A SooToday.com family decided to let us share this hometown hockey treasure with our readers.
The book, a souvenir gift to someone on the team is an up close and personal look at hockey the way it was in Sault Ste. Marie in the 1930s.
It's a handmade window into another time.
As the Soo celebrates the century we look back to a time of innocence, war, courage and hockey pucks.
We will show you how it once was, and we hope you will share your own stories of how it was in the comments section below.
It all started circa 1930 in the Pim Hil areal.
We will share an amazing tale of boys, men, women and the need to play some hockey in the Soo.
We aren't sure exactly what the story behind the souvenir book is but it looks like it could have been an ode to the most important person - the butcher that supplied the food for the feasts.
What ever the back story, this souvenir book is the story of a dream and how Saultites made it real with pure grit and determination.
We have reproduced the photos as best we could, and have transcribed the faded ink of the pages and pages of prose.
The team was The Pim Hill Bullies, the time was 1930.
Perhaps you're still a little curious
why we have "The Bullies" for a name,
When we're so small compared with teams
We play against in games.
Well, it was back in 1930,
The first year our rink was made.
And the boys lost to "The Moffley Bone Crushers"
In the first game that they played;
So Bob Allen said, "If those bums can win because of their fancy name
We'll name our team "The Bullies"
And go out and do the same"
Now ten years of fun have gone by,
And that name is our only tie
To old friends who have moved away
One swell bunch of guys.
And we feel that when we step on the ice
In our colours, two shades of blue,
That all those old friends are still behind us,
For they once were Bullies too!
So let people laugh all they like
For no matter how odd it seems,
We'll always be the "Bullies"
As long as there is a team.
* * * *
Photo: The Pim Hill Bullies
Back: Alex Neilson, Rube Forbes, Angus McKiggan
Front: Pat McMaster, Ab Wyat
The first year the club was formed, and the first rink was made 140 X 60' with slush banks about a foot high, one or two lights strung here and there and Webb Hilderly's old woodshed which was about 6' wide by 16' long, for a shack.
The boys each donated 50 cents to help cover expenses and the members were: Red Forbes, Rube Forbes Ven Reg and George Davies, Bob, Benny, Babe and Tom Allen, Ernie and Dave Miller, Lloyd and Lee Breckenbridge, Gord Weeks, Harry Mihell, Freddie and Jimmy Brooks, Speed Bailey, Willard Armstrong, Rusty Abrams, Al Houston, John, Bern and Webb Hilderly, Doc Cameron, Tedd Harold and Johnny Kelly, Clayton Allard, Don MacMillan, Chich Bussineau, Wilfred Fountain.
The rink was widened to 67' and two widths of boards put up.
More lights were added and Fountains chicken coop moved over to be used as a shack.
The club increased in membership and those who joined were: Marky Mitchell, Joe Mitchell, Stan Rousseau, Jack Egglesfield, Orv Wray, Hec Wray, Wilfred Penrice, Joe DeCourcey, Tot Miller, Joe Parkinson.
It was the first year of the now famous Junior/Senior games which were played at midnight, lasted till the wee, sma' hours of the morning, and as the agreement was--the losers were to flood the rink, the Juniors had many a sleepless night that winter as they never won a game.
The one important game was the last one, the Juniors imported Jimmie Rodgers and pretty near beat the Seniors.
It ended up at one-thirty in the morning and there were at least twenty spectators around for the finish.
More lights were added to the rink, the shack was moved over to the opposite corner, there were some more new members: Gay Mokiggan, Norm Mitchell, Onny Attle, Beau Holliday.
All these (but Beau) were recruited by the hard-pressed Seniors and that year the Juniors broke about even.
The highlight was the last game of the season, the famous "wiener roast game" in which the loser was to supply the eats.
The highlight of the game was the play of the famous, "worry, worry, worry" line of Al Houston, Sauce Fountain, Onny Attle.
Al Houston played two minutes without a blade on his stick.
That's how fast he was.
The Juniors scored four goals in the last period to overcome a three-goal lead and win the game, the series, and the feed, which was the first fore-runner of the Bullies Banquets.
Perhaps they couldn't sleep anyways as 'Moon' Weeks, the Juniors Coach, wasn't noted for his silent coaching methods.
That was the game in which Leo Breckenbridge cut Harold Kelly off at the ankles with his now famous ankle-shot.
Goal: Harold Kelly
Right Defense: Joe DeCourcey, Wilfred Penrice
Left Defense: Reg. Davies, Don MacMillan
Centre: Tot Miller, Lefty Miller
Left Wing: Ted Kelly
Right Wing: Dave Miller, Rube Forbes
Coach: "Moon" Weeks
Goal: Ernie Miller
Right Defence: Jack Egglesfield, Wilfred Fountain, Lloyd Breckenbridge
Left Defense: Lee Breckenbridge, Rod Forbes, Harry Mitchell
Centre: Vern Davies, Orv Wray
Left Wing: Bob Allen
Right Wing: Marky Mitchell, Clayton Allard, Al Houston
Coach: Ben Allen
Higher boards were put up, the rink was lengthened and there were more lights, and there was an experiment in crude oil heating, didn't turn out so well, as the blame thing was on the roof and froze up when you needed it most.
It pretty near broke it's inventor, Al Houston's heart when it was removed.
The Juniors won the majority of games again that year, and the one highlight was the game in which Bob Allen bet Lefty Miller two dollars that he would score five goals against him, Lefty's part of the bargain was to clean out Bob's chicken coop for a week.
Lefty has since made two resolutions, the first never to bet with Bob, second never to raise chickens.
Especially the breed Allen's had that year.
The wind up was a checker tournament which lasted for a week, and which was finally won by Ashton Minty, who beat out Bob Allen.
More boards were added a new shack was built on the site of the first one and some members added: Ike Walton, Jerome Dyalle, Harry Hamilton, Angus McKiggan, Lorne Garrow, Pep Oliver and Vic Johnson.
The league that year was a walk-away for the Juniors team.
Goal: Lorne 'Cowboy" Garrow, John Hilderly
Defense: Joe DeCourcey, Wilfred Penrice, Vic Johnson, Angus McKiggan
Wings: Harold Kelly, Ted Kelly, Dave Miller, Reg Davies, Beau Holliday
Centre: Don MacMillan, Rube Forbes
Goal: Stan Rousseau, Pep Oliver
Defense: Jack Egglesfield, Willard Armstrong, Harry Hamilton, Norm Mitchell
Wings: Orv Wray, Gav McKiggan, Clayte Allard, Ike Walton, Sauce Fountain
Centre: Vern Davies, Jerome Dyelli
Goal: Stan Rousseau
Defense: Joe DeCourcey, Reg Davies, Willfred Penrice, Don MacMillan, Rube Forbes
Right Wing: Harold Kelly, Dave Miller, Beau Holliday
Left Wing: Ted Kelly, Tot Miller
Coach: "Moon" Weeks
Goal: Webb Hilderly, Red Forbes, Jack Eggelsfield, Clayton Allard, Norm Mitchell
Centre: Vern Davies, Al Houston
Right Wing: Marky Mitchell, Orv Wray, Sauce Fountain
Left Wing: Bob Allen, Gav McKiggan, Onny Attle
Coach: Ben Allen
We added another board high around the rink and got a radio and amplifier.
Remember "Boots and Saddles", "Isle of Capri", and "Treasure Island"?
We bet the neighbours for forty blocks around still hear them in their sleep.
In hockey there was still the Junior-Senior battles at night and on Sunday afternoons, with pretty near the same line-up as the year before.
Ab Robinson tended the nets for the Juniors.
The highlights of the season was our first game down the line at Echo Bay, which we won despite a desperate, now famous, seven-man power play put on by the Echo Bay boys.
Goal: John Hilderly, Stan Rousseau
Defense: Clayte Allard, Gav. McKiggan, Wilfred Penrice
Forwards: Harold Kelly, Don MacMillan, Ted Kelly, Dave Miller, Rube Forbes, Beau Holliday, Vern Davies
Coach: Webb Hilderly
Photo: Beau 'Bud' Holliday, Gav. McKiggan, Clayte Allard, Mitch Bussineau, Pep Oliver, Wilfred Gauthier
Sorry folks there is no entry for 1936, the page may have been lost over all these years.
Editor's note: After publishing the story, a viewer posted in the comments section an entry for 1936 from a similar book, it reads as follows:
We bought a few new records, added some more lights, made a set of nets, and for the first time charged memberships for girls.
In hockey, we played two games with Bar River, winning both of them.
We had good crowds and made a fair amount of money.
Lengthened the rink across the lane, making it 167' X 69' and added two more boards making them five feet high.
We bought about a dozen new skating records and a new amplifier and had our first real moccasin dance.
In hockey we played four games with Bar River, winning three and losing one, also two with Bruce Hill winning.
The Juniors/Seniors games were on Sundays as most of the boys were working.
Highlight was the game at Bar River when there were five minor incidents and which were known as "Battle of Blood".
Fight stitches were needed to close the various wounds. Click here to advance to Part 2
blue diamond 12/26/2012 6:36:01 PM Report
Where was the rink? In the first photo it looks to be Central Ave... looks like the hose/bell tower of the old fire hall.
Norm 12/26/2012 6:46:46 PM Report
Not sure, very interesting though. I always knew of the Pim Hill Bullies. I was from Buckley but played for the Bay View Athletics. Years after the Bullies, but all us players knew of the "Bullies".
engineguy 12/26/2012 6:48:22 PM Report
Wow, that is really cool. Unfortunately none of the names are familiar to my family.
I think I was born in the wrong era, I would have liked to have lived this life, even tho it was most likely a lot harder. The great depression is going on around them and they still managed to pull together what sounds like a great set up!
A much simpler life back then. Wow.
Also- I would think the rink had to be up on the hill, around MacDonald and Pim??
Someone out there must know where it was. Can't wait for the next part.
JustMe1234567 12/26/2012 7:00:31 PM Report
Love the names back then... Rube Forbes...Pep Oliver...Beau Holliday...Sauce Fountain... Ike Walton
But my personal favourtie is Angus McKiggan. Awesome name!
Nanax5 12/26/2012 7:17:17 PM Report
I remember the Bullies of the 40's they would not let us go skating there. We did our skating on Grovesnor opposite King George School. I remember some of the names. McKiggans were friends of my Gparents. Allard later lived across from the jail. My neice married Joe Decourcy JR. They lived on top of Bruce Hill. I think the rink was off of McDonald just past Grovenor. Don MacMillan is the priest out at Goulais River.....my friends nephew who lived at the bottom of Pim Hill ....
Nanax5 12/26/2012 7:25:23 PM Report
Vic Johnson lived across from me on Stevens St. He later was in the army.......he and a guy named Figures were reported missing until the end of the war. The Germans had captured them and they were in a prison camp.Old Mrs. Jphnson a swedish lady always told us "I know my Victor is alive,"
Ultra 12/26/2012 9:05:04 PM Report
What a terrific story,. I can't wait for the rest.
old-cat33 12/26/2012 10:22:51 PM Report
What a neat story.Man that goalie equipment is something to look at though??...LOL.
JustMe1234567 12/26/2012 10:41:45 PM Report
No head protection whatsoever either! lol.
Wicket 12/26/2012 11:17:34 PM Report
My Dad used to talk about the Pim Hill bullies all the time, he grew up on Biggings Ave. He was born in 1920, so would have been in his early teens when they started, he went to the top of Pim Hill to watch the games...
Archie 12/26/2012 11:32:47 PM Report
What a terrific Christmas surprise... To open Sootoday and see Angus and Gavin McKiggan's pictures.
Angus was my mother's first husband. Gavin her Brother in Law.. Angus was shot down during the War in 1945 as a fighter pilot. He never saw his daughter, my sister, as he was killed while my mother was pregnant with her. gavin worked the trains from Fort William and Port Arthur for years before becoming a light keeper on the Great Lakes. he retired from his last post as the Lighthouse keeper at Gros Cap. Never marrying, Gavin was an adventurous soul/ I remember as a boy picking him up at what is now Purvis's dock. He had come to visit us from Port Arthur... alone in his boat a 17 foot Courtney Craft with a 60 hp Mercury outboard... yep.. Straight across Superior in a 17 ft .. He visited a few days then back to Pt Arthur in his boat.. Did that a few times...He was pretty cool to a 10 year old "nephew". My mother saw this article... she is now 90.... It brought back some memories for sure. I sent a link to my sister... now 67. Imagine her seeing her father's pic here after all these years... Merry Christmas all.
kitarm 12/27/2012 12:43:57 AM Report
I was so pleased to see this article.
My father, Willard Armstrong was part of
the team and later the manager, he died in 1948.
I was given a book with photo copies from Mr Sweet but the wording is not too clear. I went to the Museum to see
if they had any information on the Pim Hill Bullies but they did not. I believe
they would be interested in this information as it is part of our city's history.
I look forward to reading more on this
team. thank you, so much!
Hatch 12/27/2012 12:48:16 AM Report
I enjoy local history but with the added element of hockey, you have to love it.
Thank you Sootoday for posting the pictures with the article.
SooToday Moderator 12/27/2012 9:07:16 AM Report
We are glad everyone is enjoying Part 1 of our holiday feature.
There is still Part 2 and Part 3 to come!
With many, many more photos!
Part 2 focuses on 1938 and a 3-team league, Part 3 wraps things up with the focus on 1939 to 1940 and the introduction of The Bullets, the first women's team!
Hatch 12/27/2012 9:11:53 AM Report
The first womens team circa 1939/1940. I wonder how many Saulites knew about that?
blue diamond 12/27/2012 9:21:14 AM Report
I think you may be correct, the second photo does look like the park that was across from the former King George school.
As a kid, we were told that the large concrete chunks with a rust mark in the centre located around the edges of the King George school playing field were barrage balloon anchors?? Anyone know for sure.
frauleinbroomhilda 12/27/2012 10:25:38 AM Report
What a fabulous story. Hurry and post the rest! Will this book ever be made to purchase? It would be an awesome keepsake for all hockey fans from the Soo.
SooTodayer 12/27/2012 11:13:25 AM Report
Wow I was riveted to this story, the photos are so amazing. Part 2 please!!!
My late mother (who was born in 1932) talked about watching these games as a young girl sitting atop the surrounding snowbanks that were used for spectator seats, and once the game was done the music continued and everyone that was watching was invited out on the ice for a 'moccasin' dance. Those were the days I guess, she talked about it like it was the greatest thing in the world to a young girl.
How interesting that people recognize names and have posted updates on them. I'm sure most of these men went off to war. How sad that some didn't make it back.
I am completely in awe by it all.
oldnugly 12/27/2012 11:28:15 AM Report
I remember the later version of the Bullies when Dard Misner was the coach.
I did not play hockey, but I lived on Summit Avenue, and the rink was just down the street on MacDonald towards the high school. I have been away from the Soo for many years but still remember the "Bullies".
McMasters lived 2 houses down from us.
Some of the names I recall on that team
were: Micky McMaster, Donny and Wally McCrea,'Demps'Pinder, Claire McMinn,Bob Mihill,also a Forbes and Bielhartz...and some others I cannot recall.
The team played great hockey and drew a lot of fans to watch the games.
I have thought of them often and wondered if any teams later on in the Soo were called "Bullies" I always thought it was a great name for the team.
tba 12/27/2012 12:08:46 PM Report
The Hilderleys John and Webb,played hockey,and were ,as noted...part of the "Bullies".....but Bruce Hill also
laid claim to the name "BULLIES",for baseball shinanigans every summer. Bill Hilderley of Alberta Ave.,was pitcher,and Tom Mason was Bat Catcher. Charlie Pitt from upper Gladstone Ave.was coaching.
Perhaps the BRUCE HILL BULLIES baseball team,also had members of the PIM HILL BULLIES hockey team ....so claiming the name was by consensus.Bill was Russ' dad.
writebiz 12/27/2012 3:27:03 PM Report
Wonderful to see!
The copy I have features a cover credit printed on a card that fits perfectly within the cover's central low-relief scallop.
The cover credit reads:
"The Pim Hill
-- and their rinks --
Compiled and written
The entry for 1936 reads:
"We bought a few new records, added some more lights, made a set of nets, and for the first time charged memberships for girls.
In hockey, we played two games with Bar River, winning both of them. We had good crowds and made a fair amount of money."
My father was a great hockey player and made a skating rink for us that filled the entire backyard. Every winter without fail we had a huge rink with the smoothest ice we ever skated outdoors, whether private or public rink. He said he did it "Bullies style" and it was years before I actually "got" it. I made the copy I have from Lorne Greenwood's treasured souvenir.
I've always wondered if the Bruce Hill team compiled such a souvenir for its team members.
SooToday Moderator 12/27/2012 6:32:00 PM Report
Thank you for the information on 1936, news has updated the article.
ripley 12/27/2012 9:03:02 PM Report
the rink was between Laird St, and South Gladstone Ave across the road from Mr Wilfred Fountains house on Ferris Qve .I was told this by Wilf Fountain before he passed away .His daughter may have pictures whiv\ch he showed me but I cant remember his daughters name. Don
thehighamsfive 12/27/2012 10:10:31 PM Report
Would love to get copies of the photos as both Harold and Ted Kelly are distant cousins. Great photos!
papajack 1/1/2013 1:35:28 PM Report
Wonderful story, brings back memories.To clarify items sent in: The Pim Hill rink was located at the south east corner of Gladstone and MacDonald Avenues.
The Bruce Hill rink was located at the north east corner of Gladstone and Salisbury avenues.
The Allards on McNabb St. by the jail are not of the one Allard noted on the team.
Vic Johnson lived on Stevens St. and later on Blake St. But was not in the army. It was his brother Harry who became a prisoner of war along with Bill Figures.
papajack 1/1/2013 1:39:37 PM Report
Correction, Vic Johnson's mother was Norwiegen his father was Swedish.