Photos & Article by Sean McEvoy (Title image courtesy of Original Hockey Hall of Fame)
The first thing you notice when you walk into the Original Hockey Hall of Fame (OHHOF) at the Invista Centre is how much of an impact Kingston has made to the world of hockey.
The NHL and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association founded the OHHOF on September 10, 1943. Kingston born Captain James T. Sutherland was the driving force behind bringing the Hall of Fame to his hometown. He was one of the first 42 members to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947, and is considered Canada’s “Father of Hockey”.
The Original Hockey Hall of Fame is oldest sports hall of fame in Canada.
On display, you will find some of the coolest artifacts from the sport, such as the “World’s Oldest Hockey Puck”, used in 1886 in the first match between Queens University and The Royal Military College, continuing to this day as the Carr-Harris Cup. Would you believe the puck was square? Also on display is the goalie mask worn by Queens University’s Elizabeth Graham in the 1920’s.
As you move throughout the museum, it takes you back to “The Original Six” era of the NHL. Hockey jerseys from Montreal Canadiens Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Jean Beliveau, Toronto Maple Leafs Johnny Bower, “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings, and Kingston’s own Rick Smith who was on the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup winning team in 1970.
My favourite display is of our own hometown hero Don Cherry. This exhibit showcases Cherry’s career from amateur hockey, all the way up to his current stint on Hockey Night in Canada’s “Coaches Corner”. Who can say that they have never seen the iconic trademark of Don’s loud sports jackets and high-collared shirts? Well, if you haven’t…you can see one on display, as well as artifacts from his Memorial Cup Winning season with the Barrie Flyers, the Calder Cup and his lone game with the Boston Bruins in 1955. Cherry later had a successful five-year run as head coach of Boston, before moving on to Hockey Night in Canada and becoming one of Canada’s most loved celebrities. Kingston honoured him with the key to the city in 1993.
Canada has played a role in Olympic hockey. Not only is the first gold medal awarded to Canada in 1924 proudly displayed, but a jersey worn in the 1948 Winter Olympics, by Sgt. Frank Boucher of the RCAF Flyers. The Flyers were comprised of retired and serving members of the military and won Olympic Gold in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Considered the “misfits of hockey” they were truly the “Miracle on Ice” and the underdogs of the tournament. Also showcased are items from Kingston raised, 4 time Olympic Gold Medallist Jayna Hefford. How cool is that?
I have to say, for me, the Original Hockey Hall of Fame is one of the best-hidden gems in the City of Kingston. To see the mentioned items, plus many more, you can visit the museum at the Invista Centre, 1350 Gardiners Road, 2nd floor. It’s open from 12-6 Thursday through Sunday and admission is by donation. http://www.originalhockeyhalloffame.com/