By Anthony Dransfeld
Barrie MacKay was a 16-year-old goaltender for the Kimberley Juveniles, when he got the phone call on December 23, 1963, which changed his life.
The MacKay family had just sat down to eat dinner when the telephone rang. It was the Weyburn Red Wings from the Saskatchewan Junior League. Their goalie had been hurt, and they wanted young Barrie in Weyburn.
On December 24, Pencil MacKay dropped off his brother at the Greyhound in Kimberley with his goaltending equipment, and it was “Destination Weyburn.” A big move for a kid from Chapman Camp. The following season, Barrie played for the Calgary Cowboys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, to be closer to home.
When he began playing in goal, there were no masks. MacKay got his first mask made by a dentist in Calgary. It was made of fibreglass, and was basically ineffective. Barrie’s stitches kept piling up.
The following year, in 1965, the Calgary Cowboys folded after a few games. Barrie then signed with the new Senior A team in Cranbrook — The Royals — who were being assembled by Eddie Mountain, a long-time sports promoter in Cranbrook. Eddie owned the Mount Baker Hotel in the 1960s and 70s, although his main interests were hockey and baseball.
Mountain brought in Bobby Craig, Gordie Rice, Huston, Maher, Bernie Lukawich, Ray Martyniuk, George “Gibby” Gibson, (a professional player from New York), local Marvin Ferg, and Ray Goss from the aforementioned Calgary Cowboys.
Leo Ressler from Taber was a valuable addition to the team.
The last great player to hit town was Jimmy Miller (an inductee into NCAA Hockey Hall of Fame).
The Royals did have a goaltender when MacKay arrived, one Phil Headley, who had somehow signed contracts with two teams in British Columbia, much to the chagrin of League President Milo Fabro (who resided just up the road in Kimberley). The Headley contract with Cranbrook was deemed null and void by the League, which opened the door for MacKay to play with the Royals.
MacKay tried out for the Vancouver Canucks in 1969, the Canuck’s inaugural year in the NHL. Part owner Punch Imlach walked into the dressing room, saw Barrie with no shirt on and said “You must have done a little blacksmithing in your day.”
All told, Barrie MacKay strapped on the goalie pads for 14 seasons including four Seasons with Cranbrook Royals of the WIHL (sometimes facing upwards of 60 shots per game ). He moved up to his hometown Kimberley Dynamiters of the WIHL for eight more seasons, culminating in the Allan Cup Championship in 1978, when the Dynamiters defeated the Brantford Ontario Alexanders.
After two seasons of Junior hockey and 12 Seasons of Senior A hockey, Barrie finally hung up the goal pads.
Barrie retired from the game of hockey, with no serious injuries to speak of. While working for Cominco, he started up Mackay Contracting in 1984, with one loader — a business he runs today with son Rob.
In my generation the two best homebred goaltenders born and raised in Kimberley would be Barrie MacKay and Danny Sullivan, who took over the goaltending chores for the Kimberley Juveniles under Coach Gerry Barre, when MacKay went to play Junior in Weyburn. the Juveniles did not miss a beat, with young Sullivan backstopping them to the British Columbia Juvenile Championship, defeating Summerland in 1964. Sully Sullivan Jr. then embarked on a pro career. Remarkably, 56 hockey seasons later, many of the Kimberley Juvenile Team still reside locally. They are Jim “ Jet” Broadhurst, Wolf Kadin, Dale McBain, Puffer Muir, Bobby “ Nizer” James, Sully Sullivan, Barry Byram, Michael Jones, Donald Norton Jones, Darryl Reid, Greg Coldwell, and Coach Gerry Barre.
The Great Kimberley Dynamiter goalie Sam Quigley has left us at age 95. Mr. Quigley was a class act. His goals against record of 2.12 in the Western International Hockey League was the lowest ever recorded.