MANITOULIN—Fans of those bygone days of standing room only at Manitoulin’s arenas can rejoice, an Intermediate C hockey reunion is in the works.
“Intermediate C was a league on Manitoulin that was huge back in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Debbie Debassige, an Intermediate C fan who hopes to host a reunion dedicated to that era of hockey. “I recall as a fan, the arenas used to be packed—arenas were standing room only,” Ms. Debassige recalled.
Ms. Debassige said she is hoping people will come forward to help her with the research aspect of things and any memorabilia such as trophies, sweaters or photos.
“When you come in contact with people, they’re always reflecting on the ‘remember whens’,” she said. “You hear their stories and you hear their laughter, so I was thinking we should have a reunion.”
Greg Wright and Rob Little of Little Current are the unofficial Intermediate C keepers of knowledge, according to many past players.
Little Current, M’Chigeeng, Wiikwemkoong, Gore Bay, Manitowaning and Mindemoya all had Intermediate C teams, according to Mr. Wright. The league went from the late 1970s until 1985.
Mr. Little managed to dig up old tallies for each season, including the top goal scorers and those who spent the most time in the penalty box.
Little Current’s Shane Laidley tops the list year after year for points, with Blaine Moggy, Jim Panamick, and Cheyenne Migwans also making that list time and again.
Mr. Wright explained that Intermediate hockey is the level between junior and senior hockey and the Island league achieved affiliation with the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.
“One of the great things about Intermediate was that you could call yourself Northern Ontario champions,” he laughed, referencing the few and far between teams in the NOHA’s Intermediate league, which comprised mostly of Manitoulin Island.
“I think so many people would come to an event like that,” Ms. Debassige said.
Ms. Debassige envisions day of activities, reminiscing, a display of memorabilia and maybe even a pickup game for those willing to strap on a pair of skates.
Ms. Debassige said the spirit of Intermediate C hockey was characteristic of the unity found on Manitoulin.
If interested in attending such a reunion, please contact Ms. Debassige by calling 705-210-0563 or by visiting the Manitoulin Island Intermediate C Facebook page.