The Trail Smoke Eaters, located in Trail, British Columbia, have been a powerhouse in the world of minor hockey since their formation in 1926. The team has a rich history filled with unforgettable upsets and wins that have solidified their place in hockey lore. From their early days as a small town team to their current status as a top contender in Canadian junior hockey, the Trail Smoke Eaters have captivated fans and left a lasting impact on the sport. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most iconic moments in Trail Smoke Eaters history.
The Underdogs Rise to the Top
In the 1938-39 season, the Trail Smoke Eaters faced off against some of the top junior teams in British Columbia in the playoffs. Despite being considered underdogs, the Smoke Eaters shocked everyone by defeating the powerhouse Victoria Elks to advance to the provincial championships. They then went on to defeat the Vancouver Meralomas in a nail-biting game to become the first amateur team from British Columbia to win the Abbott Cup, a prestigious trophy given to the top junior hockey team in Western Canada. This Cinderella story victory put the Trail Smoke Eaters on the map and solidified them as a force to be reckoned with in the world of junior hockey.
Making History on the World Stage
In 1961, the Trail Smoke Eaters were set to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. This was their first appearance at an international tournament, and no one knew what to expect. However, the Smoke Eaters defied all odds by defeating the highly favored Soviet Union in the gold medal game, becoming the first amateur team to win an Olympic gold medal in hockey. The entire country erupted in celebration, and the Trail Smoke Eaters were hailed as heroes. This historic win put the small town of Trail on the global map and solidified the Smoke Eaters as hockey legends.
Dominance in the 1960s
The 1960s were a golden decade for the Trail Smoke Eaters. They won multiple championships and consistently captured the hearts of fans with their skilled and entertaining play. In 1962, the Smoke Eaters made it to the finals of the World Ice Hockey Championships, losing out to the powerhouse team from the Soviet Union. However, the next year, they returned to the tournament with a vengeance and took home the title, making them the first non-Soviet team to win the competition in a decade. This historic win cemented the Trail Smoke Eaters as a dominant force in international hockey and further amplified their fan base.
Succeeding Against All Odds
In 1965, the Trail Smoke Eaters faced off against the Flin Flon Bombers in the Western Canada Junior A Championships. The Bombers were considered the favorites due to their incredible record and roster filled with future NHL stars. However, the Smoke Eaters never let that hinder their performance, and in an intense seven-game series, they managed to defeat the Bombers and claim the PJHL title. This upset victory cemented the Trail Smoke Eaters as a team that could rise to the occasion and triumph against all odds.
A Return to Glory
After a few relative years of quiet, the Trail Smoke Eaters returned to the national stage in 1998 with their first appearance in the Royal Bank Cup, the championship tournament for Junior A hockey in Canada. The Smoke Eaters faced off against the South Surrey Eagles and showcased their resilience and determination by winning the game in an overtime shootout. This victory brought the Royal Bank Cup back to Trail for the first time in 77 years, and the town erupted in celebration. The Trail Smoke Eaters proved yet again that they could rise to the challenge and bring glory to their town.
The Trail Smoke Eaters have made their mark in the world of hockey time and time again. From their humble beginnings as a small-town team to becoming a top contender in the Canadian junior hockey scene, the Smoke Eaters have never shied away from a challenge. Through their remarkable upsets and unforgettable wins, the Trail Smoke Eaters have solidified their place in hockey history and continue to inspire future generations of players. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this incredible team.