The 2019 Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner took place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Best Western Wayside Inn Banquet Room in Wetaskiwin.
Jack Manson, Athlete
Jack Manson, a long time resident of Silver Beach, is being inducted into the Wetaskiwin & County Sports Hall of Fame for his special achievements in the sport of hockey. Jack played goalie for two outstanding and historic Edmonton hockey teams, the Edmonton Flyers, winners of the 1948-49 Allan Cup and the Edmonton Mercurys, winners of the 1950 World Championship. As a goalie for both of those teams, Jack has twice been inducted into each of the following: the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame and the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame. Jack is the only hockey player of his era that was a member of both of these famous Edmonton hockey teams. In his 93rd year, Jack is now receiving the individual recognition he deserves for his amazing hockey accomplishments.
As a youngster growing up in north Edmonton, hockey was Jack’s choice of winter sport and goalie his chosen position. In 1937 Jack played on his Norwood School team. Moving through age group hockey, Jack played for the Stadium Flyers Midget team, the Edmonton Athletic Club as a Juvenile and at the Junior level for the Edmonton Maple Leafs.
During WWII Jack enlisted in the RCAF in 1943 at the young age of 17. This interrupted his hockey career although he did play with an RCAF group while stationed in Winnipeg. Still a Junior after the war, Jack continued playing for the Edmonton Maple Leafs. His prowess in the net helped the Maple Leafs win the Alberta Junior “B” Championship in 1945-46.
After graduating from junior hockey, Jack began playing with the Edmonton Flyers Senior Men’s Hockey Team in 1946-47. In his second season with the Flyers the team won the league and the Western Canadian Senior “A” Hockey title. In the Allan Cup finals played in Calgary the Flyers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 in the best of seven finals thereby winning Canada’s National Senior Amateur Ice Hockey Championship. Edmontonians embraced their hockey champions when the Flyers returned to Edmonton with the trophy and the party lasted a week. A celebratory parade down Jasper Ave attracted over 60,000 onlookers, nearly half of Edmonton’s population at the time. The 1947-48 Flyers are the only Edmonton Hockey team to win the Allen Cup in the 110 year history of the trophy.
The Edmonton Flyers became a professional team affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings and Jack moved to playing for the amateur Edmonton Mercurys team in 1948-49. That season the Mercurys won their league, the Provincial Title and the Western Canada Intermediate “A” Championship. In the Western Canada playoffs they defeated the Nanaimo Clippers in the semi-finals and the Melville Millionaires in the finals. Because of their wins the Mercurys were chosen to represent Canada at the 1950 World Championships. Prior to the World Championships, the team traveled across Europe for 3 1/2 months playing 33 exhibition games in Scotland, Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Italy and England. It was a hectic schedule, the team played 5 days a week and Jack and another goalie alternated the nightly goal tending position. The Mercurys lost only three exhibition games – to professional teams. At the World Championships in London England the Mercurys successfully won the title. During the 10-day, round robin event, the Mercurys won all eight games, outscoring their opposition 88 to 5. The Edmonton Mercurys were the first Alberta hockey team to win gold on the international stage. On their return home the city celebrated by declaring “Mercury Week” and honoured the team with a parade and banquet.
After the 1950 World Championships Jack played one more year of senior hockey with the Edmonton Pats. He would have continued playing with the Mercurys but his job commitments wouldn’t allow as much time off as needed. Most of the players on the Mercurys were employed by the owner of the club at his Waterloo Mercury dealership and were given time off to play.
Jack hung up his skates and pads for the next 25 years.
At the age of 51, Jack started playing “old timer” hockey and did so until he was 79 years of age. He played on many different teams, traveled to international tournaments and enjoyed the physical participation, the competition and the comraderie the sport provided him in his senior years. In 2002, Jack played in the Alberta Winter Games and his 65+ Team won the gold medal.
From 1968-1976, when his two sons were playing hockey, Jack coached in the Edmonton Minor Hockey Association. Today Jack is the only living member of the 1947-48 Flyers and he and Harrison Young are the last two of the 1950 Mercurys still alive.
This nonagenarian with his positive attitude towards life, his vibrant personality, his interest in his hobbies and his vivid memories of his years spent playing the sport he loved is indeed a role model to all; passions in life keep us active and alive.
Submitted by Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame