Centennial Cup 1979-1980
The Sherwood-Parkdale Metro Juniors claimed their first Island Junior hockey championship in Game 6 of the league finals at the Forum on March 27, 1979 as the eliminated the Eagles ending Charlottetown’s six year run. The Eagles (Colonels and Generals) dynasty was over. There were new champs in town. The two city area rivals had battled for years but this was the first time the team from the suburbs skated off with the J. Elmer Blanchard Memorial trophy as PEI Junior “A” winners. It would start the reign of a new dynasty in the league as Sherwood won the PEI Jr. “A” title four time times over the next five seasons.
The Metros began as the Sherwood Mustangs in 1969 under Bruce Ellis from Stanhope, who was also owner of the team. The Mustangs competed in the playoffs in Nova Scotia that springs. Junior hockey enthusiasts Ronald MacDonald, Don Campbell and Lorne Jelly joined the board of directors of what would become the Sherwood-Parkdale Lions, sponsored by the local Lions Club in 1971-72. Skip Carver was named the new coach. The Summerside Crystals and Charlottetown Colonels dominated the junior loop which begin in 1970-71. Summerside won first two years while Charlottetown took the league title the next six seasons. The Lions had some standouts in the early years that included Wilfred MacDonald who tied Gene Kelly of the O’Leary Maroons with 30 goals in 40 games in 1973-74. In 1974-75 Phil Handrahan was named Rookie of the Year. Sherwood-Parkdale played its home games at the Sportsplex (now the Cody Banks Arena) which opened on Maple Avenue in the early 70’s.
The Lions became the Sherwood-Parkdale Metro Juniors with a new team sponsor on board in Metro Building Supplies in 1976-77. Bruce Ellis assumed the role as President while Owen MacLean became General Manager. Vernon Frizzell was named the Head Coach and George Monaghan was his assistant coach. Other board members were Bill Dalziel (treasurer), John Carr (secretary and legal counsel), Don Smith, George Brookins, Dr. Kent Ellis, Dr. George Saunders , Frank Lewis, Buddy Myers, Mike O’Brien and Malcolm Matheson. Everything was new about the team including the new sponsor, logo and colours (black, yellow, white) and an emphasis on winning. The Metros lived up to the promise by taking first place by two points in the 40 game season with a 33-5-2 record and more win than the second place Generals who would win a fifth straight league championship. Sherwood-Parkdale was led in scoring by Terry MacEachern with 21 goals, 42 assists and 63 points. A year later the Metros slipped to third place with a 22-13-5 record behind Summerside and Charlottetown which won its sixth straight title. Gary Trainor was the Metros top scorer with 22 goals, 43 assists and 65 points. The Island Junior League had teams spread across the Island from West Prince (O’Leary and then Tignish), to Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague. Fan interest was high in each community and it was about to reach a fever pitch with the rise of the Metros as not only league but Maritime champs and national junior contenders.
1978-79 Champs at Last
The acquisition of Dunstan Carroll from the Charlottetown Eagles turned out to be a key move for the Metros at the start of the new season. Carroll, son of Island hockey great Angus Carroll, finished tenth in league scoring in 1977-78 with 30 goals and 58 points. The previous season he had 40 goals and 83 points. Dunstan, or Dusty to his team-mates, had played on two Island Junior champions and also picked up valuable playoff experience in the Centennial Cup run both years. He was a natural choice for Captain of the Metros, known for his leadership both on and off the ice. His dad would soon join him for the playoff run as the Metros made a coaching change during the season. Dunstan Carroll finished ninth in league scoring and tie for third on the Metros with 35 goals, 24 assists and 59 points. Ron Carragher led the team with 33 goals, 56 assists and 89 points followed by Barry Bower with 18 goals, 43 assists for 61 points and Carroll, Doug Currie and Danny Revell with 59 points each. Carragher was second to Don MacKay of the Summerside Crystals in the league scoring race. MacKay, a soon-to-be Metro Junior, led with 51 goals, 44 assists for a 95 point total. The Metros finished second to the DB&J Eagles as Charlottetown went 31-5-4 for 66 points and Sherwood-Parkdale was six points behind at 27-7-6. In the league finals, the two rivals embraced in a six game battle with the Metros coming out on top and right on the Eagles home ice at the Forum on a Tuesday night. Charlottetown’s supremacy was finally over as the Eagles didn’t take much time in getting off the ice and into the dressing room. The Blanchard Trophy hoisted by Carroll and team-mates as they skated around the ice and Metros fans cheered.
Sherwood-Parkdale went on to defeat the Fredericton Red Wings and the Halifax Lions in playoff series to claim the Maritime Junior “A” title and the Callaghan Cup winning the finals,4-3 with a late third period goal in the final game to triumph over the Lions. They advanced to the Centennial Cup national tournament which was under a new format with the Maritime, Eastern and Western champs involved. The Metros lost the opener, 7-2 to the hometown Prince Albert Raiders but defeated the Guelph Holoday Platers, the Eastern champs, twice by scores of 6-5 and 5-4 and reached the final as they faced the hometown Raiders. Danny Revell scored both game winners against the Platers. The Metros had a 3-2 lead late in the third period but the Raiders tied the score with 3.18 left. The two teams went to a 10 minute overtime that was played to its completion. The contest was heard by thousands of hockey fans back home on CHTN radio in Charlottetown with play-by-play man Cy Yard providing the details from the historic contest on Sunday, May 6, 1979. Prince Albert defenseman Peter Arnholt scored early in overtime at 1.40 and with only 21 seconds left and the Metros using six men, going for the equalizer Brad Tippett scored into an empty net which completed the Raiders comeback and gave them a second Centennial Cup. Dunstan Carroll was named the MVP of the tournament. He was named to the tourney’s first all-star team along with team-mate Brian Ostroski on defence.
The Metros flew back to the Island and were treated to a civic reception at the Sportsplex. It was the closest an Island team had ever come to the national championship and everyone associated with the club felt they wanted to complete the job the following spring.
1979-80 The Repeat
No longer the bridesmaids, the Metro Juniors opened defense of their Island and Maritime championships a more experience, hungry and meaner hockey team in the fall of 1979. Team captain Dunstan Carroll and playoff goal scoring hero Danny Revell graduated from the junior ranks but the majority of the players from the spring playoff driver were back under head coach Angie Carroll and new General Manager George Trainor who succeeded Don Frizzell. Familiar faces like Callie MacPhail, Doug Currie, Robert Gallant, Ron Carragher, Wade Mahar, Jim Foster, Allan Wright and Stevie Gallant were all back. There were also some talented newcomers in goalies Jamie Frizzell and Dave Reid plus defenseman Kent Coffin and former scoring champ Don MacKay and Lonnie Thompson (Errol’s brother) who were lured from Summerside. The Metros took only five losses in the 40 game season as they finished with a 31-5-4 record and scored an amazing 390 goals (9.7 per game) while giving up only 154 goals (3.8 a game). One night during the season the Metros rattled the young West Prince Blue Fins, 35-0, a record score that still stands and may never be broken. The Metros also led the league with 1,241 minutes in penalties. Bigger and tougher, Sherwood-Parkdale won the regular season championship by 15 points over the upstart Bagnall’s North River North Stars who were also a goal scoring machine with 290 (7.2 a game) which was 100 fewer then the first place finishers but still a very impressive record. Bruce Campbell, the prolific goal scorer from Cape Breton who was signed by the North Stars, led the league with a record 76 goals, 52 assists and 128 points. The Metros crafty Ron Carragher was not too far behind with 44 goals, 78 assists and 122 points. Don MacKay, the previous year’s scoring champ had 46 goals, 51 assists and 97 points to finish third in his debut year with the Metros. Four other Sherwood players finished in the top ten; Dave Taylor (26-63-89), Doug Currie (34-41-85, Callie MacPhail (40-44-84) and Doug’s twin brother Dave Currie (38-34-72). The six Metros combined for 228 goals or 58% of the team’s total output.
Loaded with goal scoring and the league’s best defense, the Metros were highly favoured going into the playoffs. Sherwood-Parkdale defeated North River in the Island Junior League finals and then took care of the Moncton Beavers in the opening round of the Maritime playoffs before toppling the Cole Harbour Scotia Colts, the Nova Scotia champs in a six game series, 4-2. The Colts put up a good battle at the start but the Metros prevailed and won the final game, 6-2. In the first game of the series played in Cole Harbour, Sherwood sent a message with an early brawl as defenseman Steve Gallant jumped the Colts bench and went after their spark plug, Moochie Friesen during the warm-up. That caused both benches to empty and hard feelings for the rest of the series which even spilled off the ice when the Colts cut the broadcast lines of the visiting team’s radio broadcast on CFCY (although it was never made official) and removed the telephone used by CHTN reporter Cy Yard to update the fans back home on the Island. The Colts would not allow CFCY to broadcast another game until $1,000 was paid for minor hockey in Cole Harbour, when the team’s executives found out CFCY was making a profit from advertising on the series. Some sort of agreement was reached and play-by-play man Loman MacAulay and colour man Dave Holland were allowed to continue their description of the games. Stevie Gallant caused quite a stir that day but inspired his team and the fans back home to win the series after the brawl. "We needed to do something after they won the first two games on our home ice." Gallant recalls, "So I made my move and went after Friesen to get something going. We didn't lose after that." Then it was on to Toronto after a second Callaghan Cup championship for the Metros and a second shot at winning it all. It was also a prelude to some more fireworks in the Centennial Cup.
The Red Deer Rustlers, the Metros and North York Rangers made up the three team tournament. Sherwood opened with a thrilling 7-6 double overtime win facing the Rangers, who blanked Red Deer in the second game, 2-0.
Red Deer had three Sutter’s in the line-up. Brent Sutter joined by twin brothers Rich and Ron. The Rustlers must have been impressed with the Metros average of 31 minutes in penalties per game and made a point of by having the Sutter’s visit the Maritime champs dressing room during practice and declaring “So you think you eastern boys are tough. You haven’t seen tough yet,” meaning the Red Deer gang. The Metros, returned the favour and prior to their first meeting in the tournament, a Pier 6 style brawl erupted during the pre-game warm-up. A couple of players crossed centre ice during the warm-up and the fireworks began a few minutes before the contest even started. Steve Gallant credited again with getting things going on the Metros side. The players started milling around and finally the gloves were dropped and the dance was on. Metros forward Gary Frizzell was bit in the back by one of the Sutter’s according team-mates. CAHA officials were dismayed by what was going on as the crowd was coming into the North York Centennial Centre. Prior to the brawl, the on-ice officials didn’t have to appear on the ice until after the two teams warmed up. Several suspensions resulted to both sides. The Metros lost a few players along with Coach Angus Carroll. A depleted Sherwood line-up wound up losing, 6-0. The pre-game brawl was headline news in the Toronto papers sports sections the next day. It would also become a legendary tale on PEI.
The Metros went 1-3 in the tourney. They lost the next two games, 4-3 to North York and 7-6, again in double overtime to Red Deer. Injuries also hurt along with player suspensions. The Rustlers won the final, 3-2 over North York to claim the Centennial Cup. Cole Harbour would get some revenge the following season as they beat Sherwood-Parkdale in six games in a return match prior to the Centennial Cup hosted by the Colts. In 1981 the Halifax Lions also defeated the Metros, 4-1 in the Maritime final.
The Metros continued on until the 1989-90 season when they became the Sherwood-Parkdale Merchant Kings, coached by Steve Gallant and Carl Trainor. Thane Campbell became majority owner. In 1991 Charlottetown and Summerside joined the Maritime Jr. Hockey League which ended over 20 seasons of the Island Junior League. The Metro name and sponsorship returned in 2015-16 with Sherwood Jr. B and Jr. C hockey teams. The Metros players and management held a 20 year reunion in July, 2011. Lots of good memories were shared.
The Red Deer Rustlers won the Centennial Cup Tournament in 1980 in Tororonto
Ron Carragher 2nd in IJHL scoring 1979-80 47 goals, 122 points (Metros team record)
Cody Banks Arena (formerly The Sportsplex)
Home of the Sherwood-Parkdale Juniors 1971-1991
Dunstan Carroll 100 goals,199 points over three seasons 1977-1979
Maritime Jr. Champions 1979-80
Doug Currie 34 goals, 85 points 1979-80