Canton Colonel’s Cup tradition continues with youngsters versus young at heart in hockey fundraiser
After a three-year hiatus, the quest for the Colonel's Cup will resume this year on Saturday, March 25, at 3 p.m. at the Canton Pavilion. The game pits the Canton Flames against a younger group of Canton All-Stars.
BY PAUL MITCHELL
North Country This Week
The Colonel’s Cup, an end-of-the-hockey-season matchup between a group of Sunday night pickup hockey guys and high school-aged players, returns Saturday, March 25, at 3 p.m. at the Canton Pavilion after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.
The Colonel’s Cup originated in 1987, not only as a friendly competition but to raise money for local worthy causes.
Over the years, proceeds from the games have been distributed to the Canton Church and Community Program, The Lodge at Dreaming Tree Ranch, Canton Free Library, Renewal House, Canton Pavilion and other organizations.
This year’s money will help pay for locker room renovations, restroom upgrades, and painting at the Canton Pavilion. Spectators will be asked to make a donation at the door.
Long-time Canton Flame Greg Howe provided North Country This Week with some brief history of the Canton Flames. The current configuration of The Flames is close to 40 years old, he noted.
“Back in the 1960s, Tony Zaza, proprietor of Zaza’s Pizza, would personally rent the ice at St. Lawrence University’s Appleton Arena on Sunday nights. He played goal and allowed others to skate for the fee of $1,” Howe stated.
“When he moved from Canton, the group continued under the guidance of Sarge Earl, a retired Army NCO, and John Burke, a St. Lawrence professor,” Howe continued.
When age forced their retirement, the group continued under the leadership of Canton native Ed Gauthier. Following Ed’s tenure was Dan Martin of Canton who ran the operation for a few more years.
“Eventually the group adopted the name of ‘Sunday Night Hockey. When the Canton Pavilion was built in the early 1980s, the name of the group changed to the ‘Canton Flames’ and the new rink became the home of the Flames.” Howe remarked.
The inaugural Colonel’s Cup in 1987 was organized by long-time Canton Flame Mark Brackett who came up with the idea of pitting the Sunday Night skaters against the younger high school players.
Brackett’s grandfather, Col. A.T.W. Moore had acquired a large silver cup during his time in the Army. That cup was repurposed with new engraving, a wooden base and a brass plaque to commemorate each year’s winner.
Over time, said Howe, the game has created special bonds and even featured several father and son rivalries.
Howe pointed out that over the past several years, Brackett has been assisted by fellow Flames Evan Poole and Tim Phalon.