|Coach Dick Gray Accepts Churchill Cup|
Courtesy City of Lethbridge Collection
Lethbridge Maple Leafs vs English All-Stars
They arrived at the magnificent Wembley ice rink on March 22, 1951 for the big game. Mallie Hughes said, "You won`t find a finer rink anywhere!" p. 133 The Leafs were amazed at the rink and facility that includes a restaurant and orchestra.Even the ice cleaners were finely dressed and marched to music as they cleaned the ice surface. There was a screen at the end of the rink where artists put information and drawings depicting the game using old cinema slides. A more than capacity crowd of 10,000 jammed the rink for the game.
To motivate the Leafs Coach Gray said, We never wanted these games, we were pushed into them-let`s go out and do our best p. 132
The Leafs were now very motivated by the atmosphere and crowd. The English threw the best they had in the country at them. They had the 3 top lines from Harringay, Wembley and
. The Leafs considered this team a powerhouse, the best competition they would see in
The game started and continued at a torrid pace. The English All-Stars were flying out there and built up an impressive 3-0 second period lead against the world champions.
Then, later in the second period Captain Hec Negrello ignited the Leafs with the first goal. Near the end of the second period Obodiac got the second Leaf goal and they entered the third period down 3-2. The game was televised and Heg Negrello was interviewed on TV in the second intermission.
In the third period the Leafs were flying when
McLean passed to Gibson who scored to tie the game at 3. And then at about the 10 minute mark, the player who always scored big goals for the Leafs when they counted most, came through again. Captain Negrello, the emotional leader of the Leafs scored is second goal of the game and the Leafs lead the game 4-3.
Obodiac wrote: Then we slaved to preserve our lead. We shoved out lines after every minute and every man gave all we had. It was agonizing, but then the bell sounded and ended our anguish, and turned anguish into roaring delight….others will win the Winston Churchill Trophy, but the Lethbridge Maple Leafs are the first to win it… they can never take that away from us. p. 133
Maple Leafs Won the Winston Churchill Cup! Lethbridge