What was it like to make it to the Memorial Cup tournament three years in a row and win it on home ice?
1. Vol. V: February 4, 2017:
Posted at www.houndtownhockey.com and shared on Facebook (Frank S. Sarlo) and Twitter
It was like a long dream that makes you wonder whether all of it really happened. We were in a four-year time frame that seems like a fantasy but it really happened. It started with the Soo Greyhounds drafting Eric Lindros first overall in the 1989 OHL priority draft and his refusal to report. This led to an agreement to sell the Greyhound franchise to Detroit Compuware for one million dollars, almost twice the value of the franchise in Sault Ste. Marie. It was worth the price to a buyer that intended to move the team to the Detroit area with Lindros as a large draw in the bigger market area.
As fate would have it, a new clause was added to the arena lease agreement that the city or any group from the community would have thirty days to match any offer that moved the franchise out of Sault Ste. Marie. It would take a miracle to match the price. ‘Dr. Miracle’, Dr. George Shunock rallied the community and the franchise was saved for Sault Ste. Marie.
Over the next year, an executive committee and others worked tirelessly to build an organization that included Sherry Bassin, with his knowledge of hockey and the League, as General Manager; Ted Nolan, with his motivational skills, as Head Coach; and Danny Flynn, with his technical expertise, as Assistant Coach. All became legendary figures over the following three years. With the brilliant trade for Eric Lindros, other excellent trades, draft choices and important walk-ons, the Soo Greyhounds became a highly skilled team with speed and the will to win. They played with heart and determination to overcome all odds.
To that point, only two other major junior teams had ever made it to three consecutive Memorial Cup tournaments and only one team had won the Memorial Cup on home ice. The Soo Greyhounds made it to the tournament in 1991,1992 and 1993. We won it on home ice in 1993. It was one of the best sport’s dreams ever.
Next week, part one of the answer to the following question: Why did the Soo Greyhounds risk putting their faith in so many young talented individuals in both hockey and business operations?