Memorial Cup memories
And the emotion that came pouring out over those final few seconds was from the failed expectations of previous Kamloops teams that were also seemingly destined for greatness.
Especially the 1986 1987 team, possibly the greatest ever in Kamloops, that couldn’t get over the hump of losing Rob Brown to a fractured ankle in the first minute of the third period of what was a meaningless season finale at Queen’s Park Arena in New Westminster.
Yes, we remember the pure and utter joy of 1992. But it didn’t start that way.
Falling behind 4 0 to Sault Ste. Marie in the tourney opener and eventually losing 6 3 to the OHL champion Greyhounds ignited thoughts of, “Here we go again.”
Like the 0 2 start in 1986 in Portland. Or the incredibly disappointing “three strikes and you’re out” fiasco of 1990 in Hamilton.
There were 10 players from that 1990 squad who remembered that empty feeling and vowed it would not happen again. Specifically Boyer, Niedermayer, Daryl Sydor and Corey Hirsch, who made a spectacular save off Rick Kowalsky just moments before the winning goal.
After the opening loss to the Soo, there was tremendous pressure on the team going into their next game on Sunday, May 10, against Verdun. The 4 0 win ended what was a five game Memorial Cup losing streak for Kamloops and the rest, as they say, is history.
I am convinced that 1992 team paved the way for the 1994 and 1995 champs to play with complete confidence. The next time the Blazers represent the WHL at the Memorial Cup, they will take a 12 game tournament winning streak into that championship event.
I’ll leave you with this. The opening six lines to this story? Well, they and the entire game were recorded onto a few cassettes. One of them was presented to head coach Tom Renney. Back in 2011, I ran into Tom at the Young Stars NHL exhibition tournament in Penticton, when he was coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
I was covering Winnipeg’s return to the NHL. After we were able to catch up, Tom told me that from time to time, when he needed a lift like the day he was let go in Vancouver he’d plug in that cassette and would immediately feel better.
I know that for many Kamloops fans who were there that day or listening back home on radio before there was the internet, it puts a smile on their faces, too.
And for that, how could it have been anything other than a privilege and a pleasure to have been a part of one of the most special days in Kamloops sports history?
On May 17, 1992, my dad took my brother, Dave, and I to Seattle to watch the Kamloops Blazers play in the Memorial Cup.
Although I don’t remember all the details, I remember the game being loud. Lots of our friends’ families went, too, and we were all the in the same row. We were cheering and screaming. It was a great game!
Zac Boyer scored the winning goal on a breakaway with 14 seconds left and the Blazers’ fans erupted! I remember crying, high fiving and hugging everyone around me. It was such an experience to be there.
I also remember the drive home as one of the highlights. It was as though everyone on the highway was a Blazers’ fan showing off their blue and orange pride! Vehicles had banners and streamers and were covered in team colours. There was so much honking and waving. I have attended NFL, MLB and NHL games. I even attended the 1995 Memorial Cup in Kamloops when the Blazers won for the third time, but nothing has ever compared to that win in 1992!
I will always be grateful to have experienced it. Go, Blazers, go!
## ## Julie Dormer, The Dormer Group
The weekend of the 1994 Memorial Cup win coincided with my beautiful backyard wedding in Westsyde with 100 of our closest friends and family.
The TV was on, of course, for the games.
During the gift opening on the Sunday, the upstairs living room was very busy, with many of the guests going back and forth to watch the Blazers win and take part in the wedding festivities.
Those were wonderful memories of hockey and my wedding. Such fun times!
You bet I was at the 1995 Memorial Cup. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I am a season ticket holder and was a billet for 18 seasons. Where else would I be? With my son and just a few thousand of our closest friends at the rink, of course.