Arthur Tigers

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Arthur Tigers
Arthur Tigers logo.jpg
City Arthur, Ontario
League WOAA Senior Hockey League
Operated 1985 (1985)-1999
Home arena Arthur Area Recreation Complex

The Arthur Tigers were a Canadian senior hockey team based in Arthur, Ontario, Canada. They played in the Western Ontario Athletic Association Senior Hockey League.

History[edit]

Arthur has had numerous hockey teams nicknamed the Tigers since 1904, with the most recent team playing in the WOAA from 1985 to 1999. The team folded at the conclusion of the 1998–99 season. Along with the 1991 Grand Championship, the Tigers were also WOAA Intermediate B champions in 1989 and 1990.

Some stars over the years included: Ken Riley, Al Bell, Garnett Rooney, Bob McCulloch, Bryan Richardson, Paul Epoch, Scott McCulloch, Tom O'Donnell, Marty Groulx, Bruce Richardson, Ray Hutchison, Mike Brooks, Glenn Watt, Darryl Rooney.

Some of the "Honorary Tigers" include: Bert Coffey, John Walsh, Clive Williams, Bill Smellie, Norbert Heffernan.

The club held Reunions in 1993 and again in 1998. These events attracted some 250–300 former players, coaches and friends of the Tigers.

1991 Grand Championship[edit]

The club had their most successful season in 1990-91 season, defeating the heavily favoured Durham Thundercats to become the WOAA Grand Champions. The Tigers captured the WOAA Senior B Championship eliminating Wiarton and Drayton. Posting a 9-1 post-season record, the Tigers issued a challenge to the Senior A champion Durham Thundercats for a Grand Championship series. Many of the players of the Thundercats had left on vacation at the end of the Senior A series, not expecting a Grand Championship, and had to return from Jamaica to play. The series went a full five games. Durham won game 1 10-2. Arthur won game two 10-1. Game three in Durham saw the T-Cats edge the Tigers 5-4. Coming back to Arthur, the Tigers needed to win to force a fifth and deciding game. Game four in Arthur, on a Sunday evening, was canceled at game time, with the fans already in the Arena, due to a compressor break down. Rescheduled to the following Tuesday evening, Arthur won 8-3 to force the fifth and deciding game. In Durham on Friday, April 3, 1991, a full house turned out. Tied heading into the 3rd period 3-3, the Tigers pulled ahead 6-3. Things appeared well in hand for Arthur. Tenacious Durham winger Scott Betts had other things in mind scoring two goals in the final two minutes to bring the homeside within a goal. Arthur held on for the 6-5 victory. Tigers winger John McCabe led all WOAA playoff scorers with 28 points. Netminder Marty Groulx sparkled for Arthur. Other players included: Scott McCulloch, Tom O'Donnell, Ray Hutchison, Eck Palmer Jr., Brian Ward, Jim "The Champ" Holmes, Paul Epoch, Fred Locking, Matt Coffey, John Bell, Don Jackson, Doug Bell, Rob McCulloch, Mike Raftis, Grant Rundle, Brad Smith, Frank Goetz, Jeff Bauman, Mark Goetz III, Walt Lesenke Jr. Coach Don Tremble, Assistant Coach Cal MacDonald, Manager/President Jeff McKee, Trainer Walt Lesenke Sr.

Other highly successful seasons included: 1971 - WOAA Grand Championship Finalists, 1952 Pritchard Trophy Champions and 1938 OHA Division Champions.

The road team[edit]

In 1977 the Arthur Tigers were a men's hockey club without an arena. Winning was not the highlight of the season, rather the fact that they played all their games on the road was. It was at about this time that the Tigers folded until a rebirth in the fall of 1984. They competed for one season in the OHA before rejoining the WOAA. Pete O'Donnell was the teams captain and Steve Baker was named the club's Most Valuable Player.

Rivalries[edit]

The Tigers had a big rivalry with the Drayton Comets, through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The two towns are located 30 kilometers apart, and the clubs met four times in the playoffs - 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Each club won two series. In 1990 Drayton defeated the Tigers to advance to the WOAA Grand Championship Final. In 1991, Arthur defeated Drayton en route to the WOAA Grand Championship.

Through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s strong rivalries were formed with Harriston, Palmerston, Mt. Forest and Milverton.

One of the most famous games was played in the mid-1950s in Arthur. A packed house became embroiled in brawl which spilled out onto the ice. Fans leaned against the boards when defenceman Ken Elliott became involved in a fight. The boards slipped off their hooks, and the fans spilled onto the ice, resulting in the melee. Mt. Forest eventually managed to retreat to their dressing room. Police assisted in helping the visitors leave the arena.

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