1952/53 ST. BONIFACE CANADIENS
TURNBULL MEMORIAL TROPHY - MJHL CHAMPIONS
ABBOTT CUP - WESTERN CANADA JUNIOR CHAMPIONS
For the 1952/53 Manitoba Junior Hockey League season, St. Boniface Canadiens Coach Bryan Hextall assembled a powerful squad with Ab McDonald, Cec Hoekstra, Len Thornson, Al Johnson, goaltender Hal Dalkie and captain Syd White leading the way.
The Canadiens would finish the season in 2nd place and take on the defending MJHL champion Monarchs in the first round of the play-offs. St. Boniface would make short work of the Monarchs, taking the series (8-4, 5-1, 8-3, 5-2).
Advancing to face the Brandon Wheat Kings for the MJHL crown, the Canadiens never touched the brakes in sweeping the series (6-5, 5-4 ,2-1, 5-2) and the Ollie Turnbull Memorial Trophy as MJHL champions.
After a two week layoff, St. Boniface met Fort William Canadiens in the Inter-provincial Memorial Cup play-off. St. Boniface was soundly thumped in the first game with the Fort's 16 year old Walter Bradley potting four goals in a 7-0 blowout. St. Boniface would brush off the loss and re-group to take the next four games and advance to the Western Canada Junior final against the Lethbridge Native Sons.
Travelling to Alberta, the Canadiens surprised the Native Sons with a 7-5 victory in Game one. In Game two, Lethbridge fans were heading to the exits thinking their Native Sons had tied the series with a 5-3 lead and only a minute and fifty seconds to play. St. Boniface roared back to score four goals in the space of a minute and twelve seconds to win 7-5 and hop on the train back home to Winnipeg holding a 2-0 series lead. The Sons rebounded to take Game Three 3-2 before a 5-5 tie in Game Four. A dramatic goal in Game Five by Syd White with six seconds left would propel St. Boniface to a 4-3 win and a 3-1 game series lead.
Lethbridge would take Game Six with a 6-1 win and now had their chance in Game Seven. St. Boniface would have none of that as they totally dominated in a 12-1 win and St. Boniface's first Western junior title since 1938 when the St. Boniface Seals won the Memorial Cup.
The first two games of the 1953 Memorial Cup final were played in Brandon. The Eastern champion Barrie Flyers had barely stepped off the train when the puck was dropped. The Flyers would somehow find their legs late in the game and score 4 straight goals to take the opener 6-4. Barrie would take the next two games 6-3 and 7-5 for a commanding lead before St. Boniface struck back with a decisive 7-4 win in Game Four.
In front of 5,000 at the Winnipeg Amphitheatre, Game Five started out well for Barrie after they took a 2-0 lead. But, St. Boniface scored to make it 2-1 and apply pressure on the Flyers before the game turned nasty with several fights. The Canadiens could not get back on track and Barrie would take the 1953 Memorial Cup title 6-1
Roster: Len Thornson, Ab McDonald, Leo Konyk, Gabe Pankhurst, Gary Blaine, Cec Hoekstra, Barry Thorndycraft, Lou Marius, Bruce Carmichael, Bill Short, Al Johnson, Ken Busby, Frank Holliday, Ron Heindl. Sid White, Bob Jasson, Ted Foreman and Hal Dalkie all played 17 or more games during the regular season. Ralph Ward, Paul Olafson, Eddie Dudych, Billy Sutherland, Murray Williamson and Ed Schiller also saw minimal action during the season. General Manager Larry Desjardins, Coach Bryan Hextall