Top News

Young star from Shamrocks’ 1979 Herder squad dead at 61

Members of Mike’s Shamrocks gathered for a team photo prior to their Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey championship against Petrolia, Ont., with their pickups from the BlueCaps (Randy Pearcey, Charlie Babstock and Jim Heale), after winning the 1979 Herder Memorial Trophy. Members of the team were (from left, first row Fred Burke, John Breen, Gary Connolly, Nigel Facey, Max Hayes, Junior Hammond; (second row): coach Jim “Aucker” Byrne, public relations director Ed Durdle, John Byrne, Bill Breen, Bob O’Neil, Ron Cadigan, Paul Norman, Grant McDougall, trainer Dave Corrigan, stickboy Peter Byrne, owner/general manager Mike Squires; “Back row”: Randy Pearcey, Charlie Babstock, Bill Perry, Mark Idler, Jim Heale, Hubert Hutton, Gary Noftle, John Hearn and Jerry Power. - CONTRIBUTED VIA FACEBOOK
Members of Mike’s Shamrocks gathered for a team photo prior to their Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey championship against Petrolia, Ont., with their pickups from the BlueCaps (Randy Pearcey, Charlie Babstock and Jim Heale), after winning the 1979 Herder Memorial Trophy. Members of the team were (from left, first row Fred Burke, John Breen, Gary Connolly, Nigel Facey, Max Hayes, Junior Hammond; (second row): coach Jim “Aucker” Byrne, public relations director Ed Durdle, John Byrne, Bill Breen, Bob O’Neil, Ron Cadigan, Paul Norman, Grant McDougall, trainer Dave Corrigan, stickboy Peter Byrne, owner/general manager Mike Squires; “Back row”: Randy Pearcey, Charlie Babstock, Bill Perry, Mark Idler, Jim Heale, Hubert Hutton, Gary Noftle, John Hearn and Jerry Power. - CONTRIBUTED VIA FACEBOOK

Mark Idler also potted big goal in memorable ’79 senior hockey final

One of the key contributors to the Shamrocks’ only provincial senior hockey championship 41 years ago passed away recently.

Mark Idler of St. John’s was only 61.

Mike’s Shamrocks’ 1979 Herder Memorial Trophy title is remembered as one of the most thrilling championships in Newfoundland senior hockey history, with the green-and-gold St. John’s-based team upsetting the heavily-favoured Gander Flyers in Game 7 of the Herder final at old Gander Gardens.

Ron Cadigan forever carved his name in Herder history, potting the game-winner — while the Shamrocks were shorthanded, no less — in the second overtime period.

Cadigan, a Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Famer, passed away in 2017.

Idler, only 20 at the time, also scored a big goal for the Shamrocks, the game-winner with less than two minutes to play in a 4-3 Game 2 win.

That tally drew the best-of-seven final even at a game apiece after Gander won Game 1 on a goal by Keith Elliott in the third overtime period.

Better to be coming home to old Memorial Stadium with the series tied up 1-1 as opposed to trailing 2-0.

Idler died unexpectedly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., just over a month ago.

Originally from mainland Canada, Idler arrived in St. John’s as a child, attended Macpherson School and played minor hockey in St. John’s before going on to enjoy a brilliant high school career at Prince of Wales Collegiate.

“He was one of the best puck handlers I’ve ever seen,” said long-time friend and teammate Bob Faulkner, who was also part of the ’79 Shamrocks’ squad. “He could toe-drag the puck like nobody else.”

After a few high school championships at PWC, Idler graduated in 1977 and joined the senior ranks with the Shamrocks, playing on a line with Johnny Hearn and Gary (Chico) Noftle.

At least six members of that ’79 Shamrocks team, including owner and general manager Mike Squires and coach Jim (Aucker) Byrne’, have since passed away.

robin.short@thetelegram.com

@telyrobinshort

RELATED:

Recent Stories