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.