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Senior Ramblers join select company


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The 1960-1961 Amherst Senior Ramblers will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in October. Members of the team included: Moe Lamirande (front, left), Denny Malone, Roger Legere, Jacques Monnette, Frank Dorrington, Gerry Boss, Russ Malone, Norman Red Mullins, Dave Kiley, Dick VanSnick, Jim McLean, Bill Payne, Sam Gregory, Shermie White, trainer Cookie LeBlanc, Gilles Picard, Lou Kiley, Frank Gouthreau, Ralph Shepard and trainer Mickey LeBlanc. Submitted

HALIFAX - One of Amherst's most successful hockey teams is finally getting its reward.
The 1960-1961 Amherst Senior Ramblers will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame during an inducation ceremony Oct. 17 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.
The Ramblers will join fellow inductees retired NHL defenceman Al MacInnis, paddler Don O'Brien, boxer Carroll Morgan, multi-sport athlete Peter Corkum, radio personality Arnie Patterson, Wayne Finck of lacrosse and David Fraser of the Nova Scotia Blind Sports Association.
"It's really quite an honour when you consider we were from a small town and were going up against some pretty big centres like Moncton, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown," player and coach Lou Kiley said. "It was really pretty amazing to see 4,000 people in the rink in those days. That was a pretty big percentage of the town's population at that time."
The 1960-1961 Ramblers overcame a number of challenges to compete for the Allan Cup. It was the second season back in Amherst after the Bailey Arena was destroyed by fire in 1958.
"It was really quite a team, then again we had three really good teams and any one of those could have been inducted," said player Dick VanSnick, who joined the Ramblers in 1959, and after a tryout with the Boston Bruins, played two more seasons.
The Ramblers went 32-7-1 in the regular season while suffering only a single playoff loss in winning the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League and Maritime Senior Hockey League championships.
"That was hockey in its heydey. We had teams that could compete with NHL teams. I remember we played the Boston Bruins and only lost by a couple of goals," VanSnick said.
The team had to overcome serious financial obstacles on their way to the Eastern Canadian championships in Ontario. The town rallied behind the club raising $2,000 in 24 hours to finance their trip to Galt, Ont. where they eventually loss to the Terriers, who went on to win the Allan Cup later that spring.
The team received a hero's welcome upon their return to Amherst and was feted at the annual Amherst Board of Trade banquet.
The Ramblers folded midway through the 1963 season and VanSnick and several of his teammates joined the Moncton Hawks.
The Rambler name would return several seasons later in 1967 when barrister Moe Bent founded a junior team that continues to this day.
Team members included: Frank Dorrington, Frank Gouthreau, Sam Gregory, Dave Kiley, Lou Kiley, Moe Lamirande, Gerry Boss, Shermie White, Roger Legere, Denny Malone, Russ Malone, Jim McLean, Jacques Monnette, Norman 'Red' Mullins, Bill Payne, Gilles Picard, Ralph Shepard and Dick VanSnick. Trainers were Cookie LeBlanc and Mickey LeBlanc.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

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