PART 2 1962-63 Lincolns: Road to a provincial championship

Team won five playoff series, and defeated Kingston Frontenacs in the OHA final

By Pat Payton

The 1962-63 St. Marys Lincolns brought the town its first provincial Jr. ‘B’ championship.

After finishing in first place in the Western League, the Stan Moore-coached Lincs won five playoff series en route to the Sutherland Cup. In those five series, the team won 20 games and lost only six times.

The Lincolns were a deep, veteran and talented team, with 10 players who were 20 years old.

After defeating Tillsonburg Mavericks four straight and St. Thomas Barons in seven gruelling games to capture the Western title, Lincs advanced to meet the Central League champions, the Waterloo Siskins, in Inter-Group play. Siskins were the defending Ontario champions. It was at this time that Lincolns switched their home games to Stratford’s Allman Arena, which accommodated more fans.

“Waterloo had a great big defenceman named Larry Johnston and he was the terror over in their league,” Jacques Cousineau remembers. “But we had enough older and experienced guys and it didn’t matter what he did. We didn’t let him affect our game.”

Lincolns won the series in five games, but the last three games were decided by just one goal. The final game in Stratford was a “real thriller,” with Lincs winning 5-4 in overtime. Jack Nairn fired the winner at 6:59 of double OT.

Detroit Jr. Red Wings were Lincolns’ next opponent in the semi-finals. Red Wings were the winners of the Border Cities Group, defeating Chatham Maroons four games to one in their league final. Windsor, Wallaceburg, Leamington and Dresden were some of the other teams in that league.

Lincs swept the series in four straight games, scoring a total of 31 goals in the process. Both games in Detroit were played at the Olympia. Cousineau, goalie George Cifa and defenceman Doug Caley all said that playing at the home of the NHL Red Wings was “the highlight” of that series. “Stepping out onto the Olympia ice, that was unreal,” Cifa recalled.

Lincolns scored 14 goals in their two wins (9-6 and 5-3) in Detroit.

St. Marys plays Kingston in final

The series win gave Lincs a berth in the Ontario final against the Kingston Frontenacs, the Eastern champions who finished first with a 20-1 record. In earlier playoff series, the physical Frontenacs had knocked off the Toronto Lakeshore Bruins 3-2 and Burlington Cougars 3-0.

One of Kingston’s key players was Wayne Cashman, who would eventually play 15 seasons with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

Cifa remembers the St. Marys fans giving the Lincolns tremendous support.

Lincs won the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Stratford, 11-7 and 9-1. The next three games were played in Kingston, with the St. Marys team taking the train to the eastern Ontario city. Frontenacs got back in the series with a 3-2 win, but Lincolns took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 7-4 victory in Game 4. The next night, Kingston stayed alive with an 8-3 win — sending the series back to Stratford.

Cifa recalls that the games in Kingston were poorly officiated. “The referees were homers; it was pathetic . . . it was sad,” he said. The same two referees officiated all three games in Kingston.

Cousineau recalled an incident during one of the games in Kingston. It came after he had an altercation with one of the Frontenacs players. “I was in the penalty box, and the fans were very vocal,” he said with a laugh. “They were throwing nuts and bolts off the seats at me, and coffee on my back. I got a little shower in there.”

In Game 6 on Friday, April 26, 1963, Lincs hoisted the Sutherland Cup after a hard-fought 5-4 victory at the Allman.

The score was 5-3 for St. Marys with just two minutes to play. The desperate Frontenacs applied tremendous pressure and scored to pull to within a goal. The visitors pushed for the tying goal, but the Lincolns held them off. When the final buzzer sounded, some exuberant fans jumped onto the ice and mobbed the Lincolns’ players.

Victory parade through the streets

The team returned to St. Marys and was greeted by thousands of cheering citizens. The next day (Saturday), there was a victory parade through the streets for the champions, with team members riding in convertibles.

Caley has fond memories of the parade and the following reception at the Water Street arena.

“It was quite a scene coming down the main street of St. Marys, with people lined up on both sides of the street,” he remembers. “The parade ended up at the arena, and then the team was introduced on stage.”

St. Marys mayor Helen Mills Wilson had this to say following Lincolns’ provincial championship win. “For the honour and distinction they brought to St. Marys by winning the Ontario Junior ‘B’ hockey championship, we salute you Lincs! And on behalf of our town — I thank you.”

1962-63 club roster

Jim Armstrong, George Cifa, captain Floyd Cowper, Doug Galloway, Doug Caley, Don Cain, Bob Steele, Rick McCann, assistant captain Bill Bannerman, John Campbell, Jacques Cousineau, Glen Slater, Tom Monteith, Ron Ryan, assistant captain Jack Nairn, Bill Dunnell, Mike Mattiussi, John Hudson and Murray Stephens. Coach Stan Moore and assistant trainer Barry Oliver.

Team executive

President David R. Stevens, vice-president R.G. (Kelly) Hearn, secretary Jack Murphy, treasurer Harold W. Maxwell, manager Barry Nairn, trainer Oren Bayne, equipment Ray ‘Fid’ Fowler, and coach consultant Joe Mavity.

1962-63 team notes:

–Lincolns played six exhibition games during their memorable 1962-63 season. They lost only one of those games, 3-2, to the Peterborough Petes Jr. ‘A’ team.

–Among approximately 50 clubs that season, it was noted that St. Marys was the smallest municipality in the province icing a Jr. ‘B’ team.

–Goaltender Armstrong went on to play several years of minor pro in the U.S. Following his Junior days, Jack Nairn played three years of minor pro in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bill Bannerman advanced to play Major Jr. ‘A’ with a guy named Bobby Orr in Oshawa. Wayne Cashman was also a member of that Generals’ team.

–At the Lincolns’ 50th anniversary celebrations in the summer of 2005, former Lincs’ coach Barry Hearn described Stan Moore as a “very smart hockey man” who was “well-respected and well-liked by everyone.”

–Ten players from the 1962-63 Lincolns are still living, plus executive member Ray Fowler and trainer Barry Oliver.

–Cousineau, Cifa and Mattiussi are now members of the Lincs’ Alumni committee. Other members of that committee are: Terry McEwan, Mike Brogden, Dan Schiedel, Brian Hughes and Rob Mossey.

–Doug Caley’s father was the late Roy Caley. He was the Sarnia Bees’ play-by-play man for 12 to 14 years. Roy Caley once told this reporter that his favourite Jr. ‘B’ team was the St. Marys Lincolns.