For 1953-54 Summerside Aces
SUMMERSIDE – The City of Summerside and Credit Union Place celebrated the 60th anniversary of a Maritime intermediate A hockey championship won by the 1953-54 Summerside Aces during a ceremony on Saturday night.
© Michael Nesbitt/Journal Pioneer
Summerside Aces coach Layton Schurman, right, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the team winning the Maritime intermediate hockey championship, along with Joe Handrahan and Aces player Paul H. Schurman. Handrahan is wearing the jacket of his father, player Leo Shields, who was unable to attend.
A reception was held at Credit Union Place before the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) match between the Summerside Western Capitals and Dieppe Commandos. The ceremony also included the raising of a banner recognizing the Aces’ achievement. A similar ceremony was held in 2011 for the 1958-59 Aces.
Summerside mayor Basil Stewart presented certificates and team photos during the reception.
“We have a lot of great sports history here in the city, and we’re honoured to do this tonight (Saturday) for this Maritime championship team,” Stewart affirmed.
Layton Schurman, founder, owner and coach of the Aces, appreciated the team being recognized.
“When we were young, winning a Maritime championship is a thrill, but you get over that in a hurry because you get into baseball or another hockey season,” he reflected.
“To be remembered 60 years on, and see some of the boys still here, and to have family of the deceased with us. . . it’s quite a thing to have this happen to all of us.”
Seven of nine players still living were in attendance while family members of deceased players, or those otherwise unable to attend, were all provided with the certificates and team pictures.
That response made the reception one of reminiscence, with each enjoying the company of the others.
Claude Gaudet appreciated the opportunity.
“Just to see some of the old guys again, and some of the families (children of teammates), I actually didn’t know some of them until tonight,” he laughed.
Gaudet, who was only 16 when he played on the 1954 team, also played on the ’59 championship team. He didn’t continue competitive play much after that, having gone to work young and relegating himself to recreational hockey until heart surgery at age 37.
Joanne Schurman accepted the award on behalf of her husband, Maynard Schurman, who was unable to attend.
“They had a great team. They were all friends. They were all from Summerside, so it was really an important year for all of them,” she confirmed.
Clayton Mill, 88, gave full credit to Schurman and the team organizers.
“I must say, I have a great respect for the coach, Layton Schuman,” said Mill. “The Schurmans are the ones that put the thing together, and they went to a lot of work.
“I didn’t play with them for very long, but I was treated well when I did play with them.
“I had a great year with them. We travelled around to different places, and we had four trophies!”
As much as the 60th anniversary accolades mean to his team, Schurman recognizes that time moves on. His grandson, Tim Schurman, is now head coach of the Western Capitals, which is where passions are now directed.
“They all want to strive to play for the Caps,” said Schurman. “The kids really enjoy the Caps. They’re exciting and young.”