By Darren Lum
Few people are still around who know a lot about the 1934 Haliburton Huskies, which boasted a roster that included Babe Austin, Earl Austin, Lyle Lucas, Harold Dean, Glen Dart, Gordon Watt, Dick Logan, Oswald Gliddon, Ron J. Curry and Don Dart.
What is known are the documented achievements on the ice, which included capturing cups for winning hockey tournaments around Ontario and uniting the community in fandom, bringing the warmth of comradeship during the coldest time of the year.
There are news clippings of the time, a poem by local Haliburton poet Burleigh Wallace, and an account by sons of players such as teen sensation Glen Dart and the star goalie, Oswald “Ossie” Gliddon.
Bill Gliddon laughs and said in a way he owes his conception to the team’s existence.
Gliddon, a Haliburton resident well-known for his generosity and music teaching, said his dad loved hockey and would likely be honoured for being inducted.
“He would be quite honoured. He really would. He got a citizen of the year award at the Legion when he was in his late-70s. He lived hockey. It was his passion and that’s where my mom [met] him,” he said. “If it wasn’t for hockey, I wouldn’t be here.”
He said his mother, who lived on Barnum Lake, was told about the goalie that she should meet from her older brothers. So for each game she dutifully went to see Ossie play, backstopping the Huskies to many wins.
“In the winter with just summer clothes, just a short skirt. They didn’t have money. She would walk up the rail road tracks. That cold arena … she just died of cold, but did that faithfully,” Bill said. “They courted for seven years. It was a long courtship.”
Seven years to be exact and, as Bill says, he was about to arrive and some coaxing by his uncles helped to make his dad settle down.
Growing up, Bill said his dad said very little about his hockey days, including when he was 23 and played for the Huskies. Despite not playing hockey, except for on the backyard rink, it was clear to Bill his father loved hockey from how they would always huddle around the radio and listen to Hockey Night in Canada.
He remembers people would be complimentary about his father’s hockey playing. He made attempts to learn more by asking, but wouldn’t get much of a response from the stoic man.
Other people told him about how good his father was like Ron Curry.
“Ron Curry used to tell me when Ron was alive: ‘He was one of the stars. We couldn’t have won all the games without him, stopping the puck. He had a quick eye,’ he said.
In the famous photo of the team pictured above, you can see Gliddon seated and at the centre, where they pose with its seven cups (Durant Cup, Bert Porter Cup, Hughes Cup, Felt Cup, Renfrew Cup and the Carew Cup) in front of the arena. They were proof of the team’s dominance of the time, which also included documentation in newspaper articles about beating teams from all over Ontario, including other Haliburton hockey teams such as the Haliburton Millionaires and the Haliburton Black Hawks.
Roger Dart, who is the nephew of Don Dart and the son of Glen Dart – the Glen Dart Hockey Tournament is named after him, is proud of his dad.
“I think it’s an accomplishment that he was able to play with that team at such a young age and it showed his hockey ability. That was a men’s team and he was still a teenager. It’s a real tribute to my dad and his hockey ability,” he said.
Dart said his father died when he was two years old, so didn’t get to hear any stories directly from him, but learned stories through his mother and grandmother, as well as other people in town.
Another Hall of Fame inductee Lenny Salvatori told Roger that his father, who he knew well, was the “best of the time and he was a smooth player, always level-headed, a gentleman on and off the ice.”
Roger said his father was taking continuing education courses while playing hockey for the Huskies as a teenager.
“He was still going to school there and the big deal was when the Huskies invited him to play with them they let him out of school early to go to practice. The other kids all thought that was a big deal,” he said.
The 1934 Huskies won the Durant Cup, which was also known as the Toronto Durant and James Daniel Cup, by defeating the Fenelon Falls Juniors 2 -1 in the final in March. In the process, the Huskies also won the Renfrew Cup as the winning team of Victoria and Haliburton Counties, as per the Lindsay Daily Post. They also captured the Bert Porter Cup, which is also known as the Major A.T. (Bert) Porter Trophy or Bert Porter Memorial and was prestend by the Buck Lake Hunt Club in memory of A.T. Porter for the annual hockey tournament in Haliburton. In Lindsay, the team won the Hughes Cup. It was named after Sam Hughes, who donated the cup in 1911 for the winner among hockey teams in Victoria and Haliburton Counties in Ontario Hockey Association sanctioned games. The team also added the F.J. Carew Challenge Cup and the Felt Challenge Cup, which was donated by A.O. Felt, a Lindsay merchant for what was considered to be among the largest and most valuable hockey prizes, according to the Lindsay Post.
The team captured the hearts of virtually every person of the town. The fandom was as much about the sport as it was about civic pride.
Roger said on game nights hundreds of people used to take specially chartered “party trains” for trips down south to watch and cheer the team.
Games often finished quite late and had people returning when the sun was rising. A newspaper article report stated, “around 450 cheering fans accompanied the Huskies down from the north on a special train.”
The Huskies will be ceremoniously inducted into the new Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame this autumn as one of three teams, joining the 1956 -1958 Minden Monarchs and the 1970 – 1971 Haliburton Huskies.