It was about this time 53 years ago that dad sailed out of St. John’s on the Burgeo. Straight out of Grade 11, and with a six-week summer teacher training course, he was off teaching.
Dad grew up in Kelligrews, on Pine Tree Farm. His best friend was Frank Fagan — yes, that Frank Fagan, the lieutenant-governor. He and Violet Porter were on the way to Port Hope Simpson as teachers in a two-room school.
He spent a couple of years in Port Hope Simpson. He was the principal of the school, but in the summer he worked for Bowaters, cutting pit props. Bowaters and pit props are words you don’t hear often anymore.
He boarded with “Uncle” Tom Penney. We are not related, of course, but we all had more uncles and aunts that weren’t related than we had that were.
He left Port Hope Simpson after a couple of years and went to L’Anse au Loup. He spent about 10 years in L’Anse au Loup as principal of the school. That is where he started the L’Anse au Loup Wolves.
The L’Anse au Loup Wolves were the hockey team, his hockey team. When Stompin’ Tom wrote “The Hockey Song,” that is who he was talking about. They were undoubtedly better with their fists and elbows than their skates.
Their first games were played on L’Anse au Loup Brook. The boards were plywood from Ski-Doo, Sno-Jet and Skiroule shipping boxes. And they had the Boston Bruins colours. How much rougher could you get?
They eventually got a rink up on the hill just over from Aunt Philomene O’Brien’s. And today they have a stadium overlooking L’Anse au Loup.
Well, you might be wondering why I am telling you this. This is Come Home Year in L’Anse au Loup. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it. Last night they had their opening ceremonies and they honoured the L’Anse au Loup Wolves — and dad.
He has been gone from L’Anse au Loup since 1974, and he passed away in 1998. No doubt, if he were alive, wolves would not keep him from being there.
It is good to know that his work is remembered and valued.
Trevor Taylor is a former cabinet minister under the Danny Williams administration. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.