The Peterborough Petes welcomed more than 65 alumni on Saturday including several members of the 1979 Memorial Cup Championship team that took to centre ice with the prestigious trophy prior to puck drop.
The franchise’s only Memorial Cup title was won in overtime on a goal by Bob Attwell as the Petes defeated a powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings team 2-1 in Verdun, Quebec.
Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman Larry Murphy and former head coach and general manager Gary Green were in attendance for the 40th anniversary celebration of the national championship that saw a much younger Petes team skate to its fourth straight win to grab hold of first place atop the OHL standings. Peterborough defeated the Windsor Spitfires 4-2 in alumni themed jerseys to be auctioned off in support of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Carmen Cirella and team captain Chris Halyk spearheaded a reunion through social media and email two years ago in an effort to reconnect the 1979 squad. A number of them turned out to play golf together in Milton and they now communicate regularly online.
“We were busy with our work lives and raising families and kids and have a tough enough time making all that work,” Green told the Peterborough Examiner‘s Mike Davies prior to the event. “If friends aren’t next door or nearby you tend to lose touch. What’s happened is our group has started communicating with each other.”
All but a handful of the ’79 Petes were in attendance on Saturday excluding the late Mark Reeds, deceased former assistant trainer Frank Gurney as well as players Billy Gardner, Dave Beckon and Larry Floyd. Forwards Veli-Pekka Kinnunen and Anssi Melametsa made the trip from Finland.
Fans had a chance to mingle with some of the past Petes on Friday at the PMC as the team hosted an all-you-can-eat ‘Petesa Party’ during a broadcast of the club’s 2-1 road win over the rival Oshawa Generals.
One of the OHL’s storied franchises with nine OHL Championships and a long list of accomplished alumni, the Petes took the opportunity to recognize their rich history this past weekend.
“As I said to the guys back in 1979, there is that old saying ‘Win together and walk together forever.’ That’s how we feel,” noted Green.