Some of the members of Cranbrook's multigenerational

Some of the members of Cranbrook's multigenerational

Cranbrook’s mythical, multi-generational NHL team

Anthony Dransfeld ‘recruits’ local NHL alumni, ‘Head Coach’ Tom Renney organizes them into lines

Anthony Dransfeld

It may include a few generations, but google search revealed something truly remarkable about Cranbrook.

I was surprised to see a complete NHL hockey team — nine forwards (three lines), six defencemen, and three goaltenders — who knew?

The hockey players include: Frank Spring, Dan Spring, Corey Spring, Bob Murdoch, Don Murdoch, Greg Andrusak, Jason Marshall, Ryan Huska, Rob Niedermayer, Glen Cochrane, Steve Yzerman, Brad Lukowich, Ray Allison, Jon Klemm, Ted McAneeley, and Scott Niedermayer.

This group totalled 7,380 regular season NHL games, scored 1,428 goals and 2,584 assists for 4,012 points.

Two are in the Hockey Hall Of Fame — Scott Niedermayer and Steve Yzerman (who cut his hockey teeth at the Cranbrook Arena playing Minor Hockey, until his dad was transferred to Ottawa). Stevie Y was born at the old Cranbrook Hospital (which became the Tudor house, demolished by fire years ago), and the Yzerman family lived in a townhouse right behind the Green Clinic, where Dr. Bob Niedermayer practiced medicine for so many years.

Cranbrook got their hockey mojo in the mid-1960s, when the Cranbrook Royals were formed to play in the Western International Hockey League. Many of those Senior A hockey players went on to coach Cranbrook Minor Hockey when they had retired from the Royals. Fellows like Frank Spring Jr., Marvin Ferg, Pud Downey, Wayne Doll. Colin Patterson from the Kimberley Dynamiters began mentoring the Cranbrook Colts.

Frank Spring was the first player from Cranbrook to break into the NHL (1969-70 Boston Bruins). Spring was soon followed by his brother Danny Spring (first round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks). Dan played exclusively in the WHA. Then along came Bob Murdoch (two consecutive 20 goal seasons in the NHL, 1975-76) and his brother Don, who still holds an NHL record of scoring five goals in one game, when Murdoch played for the New York Rangers as a rookie.

(Jack Murdoch, Bob and Don’s father, had the only lighted back yard rink in Cranbrook, very popular with the neighborhood kids).

Local boy Ted McAneeley was a smooth-skating D-man for the California Golden Seals in the early 1970s.

The next group of local boys to make it to The Show were Rob and Scott Niedermayer, Jon Klemm, Brad Lukowich, Glen Cochrane, Greg Andrusak and Jason Marshall (who was adept enough to play defense and forward for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks).

Cranbrook also produced a National Hockey League Coach in Tom Renney. Born and raised in Cranbrook, Tom has served as Head Coach in Invermere, and with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers. He has recently been named President and CEO of Hockey Canada, based in Calgary.

Tom has kindly agreed to coach this mythical and multigenerational NHL team from Cranbrook, and also make up the forward lines and defensive pairings for the boys.

This Cranbrook NHL team needed quality goaltenders, so we procured the services of Wayne Doll from the old Cranbrook Royals of the WIHL of the early 1970s. Dolly had a pro career from 1965-71, which included two years in New York and Chicago, before coming to the Royals, Wayne Price from the Cranbrook Royals of the early 70s shares the net with Doll.

We have two young goalies from Cranbrook — Randy Petruk and Logan Koopmans (both NHL draft choices).

Cranbrook certainly has done well for itself in the world of professional ice hockey. A few years back it seemed like the Stanley Cup was always coming to town in summer with a local player Would you believe 10 years In a row?

The following citizens have been instrumental in the development of hockey in Cranbrook. Suffice to say Cranbrook would not have an NHL legacy without the efforts of these folks:

Maggie Dorris, Carol Niedermayer (power skating), Josie Spring and Noreen Spooner, Frank Spring Sr. (back in the late 1950s and early 60s, many residents of Cranbrook did not yet own a car, so Frank Spring Sr. would loan out Volkswagons from his dealership so minor hockey teams could go play in Fernie, Trail, Rossland, Nelson and Creston. Bob Hockley, Al Flick, Norm Guizzo, Stan Wales, Vern Askew, Jack Murdoch, Bob Taylor, Ken Cochrane, Eddie Mountain, Tiny Spooner, Gerry Dorris, Harry Brown, Dick Neil, David Neil, Terry Minnis, Bert De Armond, Wayne Doll, Marv Ferg, Ron “ Spike” Huston, Gord Ratcliff, Arvon Price, Wayne Price, Frank Spring Jr, Derek Spring, Colin Patterson, “Pud” Downey, Rick “Rocky” Allen, Len Bousquet, and a wonderful ice maker by the name of Hans Jurress. Everyone had their part to play in Cranbrook hockey.

I apologize if I have missed anyone.

This is dedicated to Mr. Allan Wong

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