In honour of what was possibly the most successful sporting franchise to ever emerge from the Drumheller valley, the Dragons donned retro jerseys at Friday and Saturday’s home games styled after the famous Drumheller Miners of 1965-66.For those not familiar, the Miners were members of the Alberta Senior Hockey League who won the Allan Cup, Canada’s national senior championship, in 1965-66.
"I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the arena," says Jim Fisher, who was general manager of the team during their Allan Cup run. "It brought back a lot of memories."
“Not only the management, but our players too, talk about what a tremendous legacy the Miners left behind, and how special it is we can stand on their shoulders and continue to develop that tradition here in Drumheller,” said Dragons’ head coach Dan Price.
Jerseys were auctioned over the course of Friday and Saturday’s games, with the highest bidders being given the jerseys from the backs of the players following Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Brooks Bandits.
Kyle Knelson's jersey fetched the highest bid, at $450, Doug Jones' at $401 and retired Dragon Trent Colberg's going for $400. In total, $3,000 was raised through the auction, funds which will go towards covering transportation costs.
The Drumheller Miners team of 1965-66 were entered into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.
Filled with NHL calibre players who elected to stay closer to home and work, some observers felt the team was so strong they would have finished fourth place in the NHL.
The season following their Allan Cup win, the Miners were selected to represent Canada in a tour of Europe during the winter of 1966-67. It is believed they were the first free-world hockey team to compete behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany during the Cold War.
Many alumni of the team, including their 1930’s incarnation, went on to compete in the National Hockey League.
“It’s pretty cool to think about the passion they generated here for the game of hockey, and we are honoured to carry on that tradition,” said Price.
“They were national champions and that’s our goal too.”