Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

The Life of a Grande Prairie Hockey Legend

Garry "Duke" Edmundson 1932 – 2016

The Canuck Seniors with whom I (Ron) was playing at the time had registered to compete in an Old Timer tournament in Victoria.  Due to other commitments I was unable to join the team.  Following the tournament a teammate told me about a game they had played and lost due to the performance of one opposing player.  He raved about this player’s ability to score at will and control the entire flow of the game when he was on the ice.  The player in question played with a team from San Francisco and upon further inquiry I learned that the player had Grande Prairie roots.  The player in question was none other than Duke Edmundson.  How I wish I had been able to participate in that tournament and had a visit with Duke to reminisce about growing up in Grande Prairie.

Duke was an imposing presence on the ice from the beginning.  Duke’s father, Frank Edmundson was a talented and well-known hockey player in the Peace River country and later he coached Grande Prairie’s D- Company.  Duke was his stick boy. 


Later Duke’s younger brother Bryan played for the Grande Prairie Legion in the South Peace Hockey League.  Garry, Duke’s only child lives in Maple Ridge BC, played junior hockey in BC and Semi- pro hockey in Las Vegas.  Clearly Hockey is deeply embedded in the Edmundson gene pool.  

Duke played his first junior hockey in Grande Prairie centering a line with Hockey Legend Bob Neufeld as his left winger.  Duke, along with Bob played Senior hockey in Grande Prairie before Duke moved to Edmonton to play for the Edmonton Athletic Club (EACs).  In many ways the world of hockey is a small world and following the Victoria Tournament I learned that in Edmonton Duke played with Roy Hammond and Stu Robinson.  Both Stu and Roy went on to have professional careers in Europe and were my (Ron) teammates when I played old timer hockey with the Canuck Seniors and the UBC Old Birds in Vancouver.  Both Roy and Stu raved about Duke’s hockey skills and savvy.

The “small world” story line and connections to Duke do not end with Stu and Roy.  A number of years ago while playing in a Lower BC Mainland old timer’s league with the UBC Old Birds we faced a team from Surrey known as the Grateful Living.  On the ice I (Ron) ran into a very determined but good-natured forward.  While digging for the puck in a corner and getting my ribs messaged by the butt end of a stick I looked down to see a broad grin and heard a smart quip from the small but plucky forward.  At lunch following the game he entertained our table with jokes and stories of his youth.  There I learned that Terry Kerstein was born in Sexsmith where his father owned the pool hall. Later the family moved to Grande Prairie where he went to school.  Terry was Duke’s cousin and told me he never quite accepted the reality that he lacked Duke’s ability on the ice.  Terry – if you see this blog please call me so we can share a few memories about Duke and our experiences Grande Prairie those many years ago.  

I think it was Terry who told the following tale about old-timer hockey although his version had a slightly different twist and different characters.  The story is as follows.  Even as seniors Stu, Roy and Duke loved to play hockey.  Following a game they made a pledge.  It was agreed that the first one to die would return to meet with those left behind to provide a report on the status of hockey in Heaven.  Both Stu and Roy died a number of years ago and to Duke’s surprise Roy materialized on the 20th of Sept.  “Duke”, said Roy, I have good news and I have bad news.”  “What’s the good news?” replied Duke.  “I’m here Duke to tell you about Hockey in Heaven and believe me – it is alive and well.  We play every day and on the ice with us are guys from Grande Prairie like GP Hockey Legend Pete Wright, and teammates from your junior pro hockey days.”  “That’s fantastic”, replied Duke. “What’s the bad news?”.  “Duke”, answered Roy apologetically. “We need a centre for tomorrow’s game and we have selected you.”                         

Back to reality - as noted in Duke’s GP Hockey Legend’s Biography Duke received $100.00 and a new pair of skates when he signed a  “B” card with the Montreal Canadiens.  In 1959, following a stint with the Springfield Indians, Duke was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he played on a checking line along with Jerry James, a running back for the Winnipeg jets of the CFL and Johnny Wilson, the NHL’s Iron Man of that era.  Duke played the last three years of his hockey career as a San Francisco Seal and San Francisco became home to the GP Hockey Legend following his retirement from the game he loved.

In August of 2014 Duke and his brother Bryan made a pilgrimage back home to Grande Prairie to visit old friends and see the Legends lounge. This included a lunch with some local elders in the hockey community.  I (Stan) met Duke and Bryan in the lounge and brought one of my Leaf sweaters.  Duke posed while I snapped a shot of him holding the jersey. When Duke heard I was a staunch Leafs fan he said he would send me a signed photo of himself from his playing days with the Leafs. I received the promised photo a few weeks later and it is proudly displayed at my home along with other treasured hockey memorabilia.

Grande Prairie’s Duke Edmundson at the Hockey Legends Lounge in
Grande Prairie with my Leafs jersey. Photo by Stan Neufeld

Duke was the Swan City’s first player to make it to the NHL but in spite of his status as a hockey player Duke was humble in every way.  He expressed to me his deep appreciation for the Legend's project, for the Lounge and our activities to preserve hockey history. 

On Wednesday, September 21 Stan received word from Bryan that Duke had passed away following a lengthy illness.  We join Bryan and other members of Garry (Duke) Edmundson family in mourning Duke’s passing and celebrating his memory as Grande Prairie Hockey Legend.

Ron & Stan Neufeld

Of Builders, Blocks and the Building of a Team

A Tribute to Kurt Robinson and other volunteers
By Stan Neufeld

You might say it’s just a hometown hockey team - but guess what! Cobbling together a team to participate in the North Peace Hockey League (NPHL) hockey requires the same basic skills that are needed to lead a nation.

Numerous books have been written about leadership, dissertations written, university courses taught and conferences conducted. Individuals recognized as having great leadership skills have been dissected, placed under microscopes, and their character, wit and spleen analyzed endlessly. Skill sets associated with leadership ability include organizational skills, the insight to identify strength and weakness in others, how to draw the best out of them, the ability to listen and knowing how and when to act to name just a few. Since this blog is not a treatise on leadership I will not go on – just to say that Kurt Robinson has agreed to serve as President of the newly formed Executive of the Grande Prairie Athletics. This is good news as it is my opinion that Kurt has the skills noted above to build a successful hockey team. In terms of experience, Kurt served as President of the As in 2011 and other leadership roles. That experience will prove invaluable as he is already familiar with many of the people and organizations that will be involved. However, it is no small enterprise and especially labour intensive.

The first step of the A’s reincarnation began Jan 29th of this year when Kurt called a meeting for players and volunteers at the Coke Centre. Since that meeting an Executive Board has been named and I contend that it is a strong cast of characters including Maurice Trudeau and Brent McCurdy - Vice Presidents, Ashley Callon - Marketing Director, Danielle Commander - Director of Off- Ice Officials, and Darren Walker - Player Liaison. Appointing the Board represents placement of the first block in the complex building plan to put a team on the ice this fall. It is my feeling that the venture is in good hands. The skills and abilities of Kurt and his team are highly valued in the market place and yet they are offered to this community project for free. Mustering stable support for senior hockey in Grande Prairie is a daunting assignment considering the competition for the public’s time and money for entertainment that includes a Junior A franchise: the GP Storm. Undoubtedly fans that support senior hockey will also support the Storm but for many there is only so much time and money to go around.

Finding the right coach is essential to building a successful team. John Lehners is a hometown lad with encyclopedic knowledge about the game and has been involved in numerous local hockey initiatives over the years. I should know - he has been a crucial element in the Legends project from the beginning. The original concept of the Legends project came about in the year 2000 when Max Henning and I were looking at a picture of the legendary Red Devil team. At that time we discussed the notion of a Legends project. The opportunity to implement the idea came in 2004 when Grande Prairie hosted the Nation’s Royal Bank Cup. John was the Special Events Coordinator and he identified funds for the GP Legends of Hockey project. Back to the re-invention of the As – John, along with fellow committee member Marty Tingstad concur that Glen Watson’s appointment as the A’s coach is a step in the right direction. He comes to the A’s with excellent on and off-ice coaching credentials. According to Kurt Robinson, “ Our new coach is going to be great. He will bring a fresh new look with a wealth of experience and coaching success at a variety of levels. “

The Legends Lounge overlooks the rink where the A’s will play. It is a gathering place for the legends and is available for other special events coordinated by Kylee Haining, Manager of the Grande Prairie’s Recreation and Sport Development program. Information about our Hockey Legends, photographs and other hockey memorabilia are on display in the Lounge.

Many of the hockey legends played for or were in other ways associated with the A’s over the years and you may be sure that our hockey legends and their friends will actively support the new A’s. If Kurt, the Board and Glen have their way the A’s will reclaim their former glory and tickets for games will once again become a hot item. Who knows what implications this season of hockey has for future additions to the ongoing Legends story.

Kurt Robinson (left) and John Lehners – taken in the Legend’s Lounge (Stan Neufeld photo)

The bottom line in the team building process is of course selecting the players. That process will keep us in suspense until September 13th when the tryouts begin. To begin with Kurt and Glen are hoping that some old veterans will show up at the trials to demonstrate that they still have gas in the tank. One simply has to watch senior recreational hockey in GP to realize that there is there is a great deal of hockey talent in town. However, it must be kept in mind that playing for the A’s is a huge commitment and not every eligible candidate for a spot on the team will be able make that commitment. In spite of the high level of competition in the NPHL no one is paid. The team is managed and coached and players play for the love of the game. It is amateur sport in its purest form. It is a workingman’s league that involves fitness routines, practice time and travel. Games often involve late nights and time away from spouses and families. Some exceptional local players have jobs that limit the amount of time that they have for hockey. However, as we have noted earlier, Grande Prairie has a rich hockey history on which to build. In the A’s last full season in the NPHL - 2014-2015 - the team lost in six games in the league final to the Spirit River Rangers. In 2009/10 the A's last captured the NPHL title over the Lakeland Eagles. Once again the challenge is to building a roster of players that will be competitive in the NPHL.

Will the team, like the Maple Leafs have a new image and take to the ice along with new sweaters, new colours and perhaps a new logo? We will wait with baited breath for that revelation. Messing with a team’s logo and colours can be controversial and risky. Look for an up-coming blog that will tell the story about how the legendary and popular Red Devils of a by-gone era were retired and replaced by the Athletics. Maybe the “devil logo”, fork in hand was an image that some locals thought was misguided. Maybe a religious lobby played a role. Maybe opponents of the devil image, fork in hand, failed to remember that farmers too are identified with forks. Having said that the A’s are now well established and only old timers like Max Henning, Billy Bessent and my older brothers Bob and Ron will remember Red Devil history that dates back more than half a century. After the red devil logo was abandoned the team adopted the original 1954 black and yellow A’s uniform that featured a full chest name on the front. The second version changed from black and yellow to orange and black featuring also a full chest name and a block letter “A” for the first time. Hockey Legend committee member Cam Henning and I are “babes in arms” compared to older brothers, Max and Billy. Over the two decades that Cam and I played as a defenseman for the A’s we had the privilege of wearing two different sets of jerseys. Max, Billy, Bob and Ron likely wore every colour of the rainbow in their history.

That’s our story to date of the blocks, the building and most importantly – the builders of Grande Prairie’s latest hockey initiative – but watch for further news and again - we invite the public to visit the Lounge at the Coke Center to see old jerseys and memorabilia that embody many stories and evoke special memories from the past. Maybe seeing the sweaters and other memorabilia will remind you of information that should be shared with other hockey junkies on our website. Please feel free to contribute information on the link About/Contact on the menu bar of

Re-Connecting A Broken Thread

The A’s Will Play In the NPHL in 2016/17

By Stan Neufeld and Ron Neufeld

Senior hockey is once again alive and well in Grande Prairie - at least on paper. 

The Grande Prairie Athletics will compete for the Lawrence Cup in the up-coming 2016/17 NPHL season. Senior hockey has been resuscitated under the leadership of a new executive with Kurt Robinson as President, and a new coach, Glen Watson. With this recent announcement senior hockey is poised to regain its former reputation and popularity with Grande Prairie fans. That is how it should be. Grande Prairie failed to enter a team in the North Peace Hockey League (NPHL) last season interrupting a long-standing, colourful history of local small town hockey that is the backbone of our national sport and the NHL.

In spite of the A’s absence in the NPHL last season we covered the playoffs in a series of blogs that saw Spirit River, a community of 1,025 bring home the cup. As we covered the playoffs we were reminded of the manner in which communities rally around hometown teams in a workingman’s league and the important role that sports can play in building local spirit. The series featured community spirit at its best. It was the talk of the towns that were represented and local fans showed up to rally around their local heroes. In addition to the entertainment value small town hockey provides it remains the backbone of the NHL and other professional leagues throughout Canada and the US. From the roster of GP Hockey Legends names that stand out are Duke Edmundson, Johnny MacMillan, Ken Solheim and Clint Malarchuk to name just a few. It illustrates that the need to play extends into adulthood and as such has recreational value for the players – and it’s more than that. On the streets of the town players are local heroes and they are often role models for the younger generation.

As noted elsewhere in the website, Canadian hockey players including young men from Grande Prairie, played a significant role beyond the NHL and North America, by helping introduce hockey to Europe. During WW11 our Gov’t. recognized the important morale building role that hockey could play for soldiers during the war and promoted the sport at home and overseas. During WW11 the Wright brothers, Charlie Turner and other local lads were represented on military teams that played to bolster patriotism that helped to defeat the Axis powers. Following the war our local veterans came home and engineered what we recognize as the Golden Age of hockey in Grande Prairie and throughout the Peace River country. During the late forties and fifties the hottest ticket in town was admission to the legendary War Memorial Arena to watch local young men compete against teams like the Hythe Mustangs or the Dawson Creek Canucks. Fans would flock to the Arena (standing room only) to cheer on the team. For fans unable to attend the game our own Foster Hewitt, WW11vet and GP Hockey Legend Fran Tanner enabled them to follow the play-by-play on radio station CFGP. You can listen to a sample of his play-by- under his Legend’s Biography as a Media Specialist.

No “Go A’s Go” chant rang from the Coke Centre last winter. It was the first time the Athletics failed to ice a team since they joined the NPHL in 1998-99, some 17 years ago. Until last year the As held the record for the longest consecutive participation in league competition for teams in the Peace River country. During this period senior hockey in the Peace was recognized as supporting the northernmost hockey league in the world and it was one of the best in the domain of small town hockey. Before WW11 there were teams like the Maroons and the Red Devils. During the war D-Company was the local team that participated in the renowned Defense League against entries from the Signal Corps, the Army and the Airforce. Following the war returning veterans including Charlie Turner and Bob Card along with Max Henning and Billy Bessent organized teams like the Key Club and the Legion to join the Red Devils who were later renamed the Athletics.

The above history was made possible by the unwavering dedication of countless volunteers. Regrettably we are unable to acknowledge all of them. Eleven of the most active are recognized in the Grande Prairie Legends of Hockey as Builders. They are citizens of the town who were/are determined to make sure that ice surfaces are available and maintained. They include men and women with the organizational skills needed to form leagues, teams and schedules and make certain there are coaches and referees. The tasks are endless. Considering hockey started here in 1913 and our Legends project never got off the ground until 2003 we are playing “catch up” to acknowledge the contributions of these remarkable volunteers. This is a history of sport and recreation in its purest form with no money exchanging hands for services.

So – listen once again for the chant of “Go As Go” rising from the Coke Centre and look for further news as the Athletics, under the competent leadership of Kurt Robinson as he re-connects the broken thread of participation in the NPHL and brings senior hockey back to Grande Prairie.

Will we see any of these faces when training camp opens on September 13th? Photo was taken by Maurice Trudeau, new vice-president of the Grande Prairie Athletics.

Soldiers Ready For Rink and Battlefield

By Ron Neufeld

On July 8, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau announced, “Canada will send a battle group of soldiers to Latvia by early 2017 as part of a NATO plan to counter fears of Russian aggression in eastern Europe.” The Latvian President, Raimonds Vejonis was quick to respond acknowledging that Canadians and Latvians have a common bond: hockey.  It is worth noting that Canada and Latvia faced off in the quarter finals of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.  Like Canadians, Latvians love hockey and Vejonis is hoping that Canadian soldiers who will start arriving early next year “will be up for a game.” (The Province Monday July 11, 2016).

This invitation from the Latvian President triggers memories of the role Canadian soldiers played in the introduction of hockey to Europe more than seven decades ago during WW11.  The Juno Beach Centre located in Normandy France is a museum that is dedicated to honour Canadian troops who landed on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944.  According to an article entitled “Dispatches From Juno: Hockey During the Second World War (November 4, 2014), “Canadians stationed in England trained for years before being sent to Sicily and Italy in 1943, and to Normandy in June 1944. Hockey was central to the social fabric and cohesion of the units stationed there. Tournaments on bases in Canada and in English towns enabled Canadian soldiers and English civilians to interact around the social event that a hockey night creates. The Maple Leaf, the Canadian Army’s newspaper during the Second World War, reported on games as did the plethora of regimental newspapers published in the field to provide humour and news from home for the fighting man overseas.” Most importantly, when the puck dropped in the face off circle it was “game on”. Players and spectators were able for the duration of the game to forget the horrors of war – the risks to life and limb – the consequences of dropping bombs and flying bullets. When the puck dropped the war stopped.


Sixteen Grande Prairie hockey players gave their lives in combat overseas during WW11.  It is our fervent hope that current tensions in Eastern Europe will not result in warfare and loss of life.  If that should occur – the enemy beware.  During WW1 and WW11 Canadian soldiers proved to be as formidable in combat as they were on the ice: creative, skillful, daring and persistent.  In the meantime Canadians and Latvians will stand side by side in the political stand off but will tilt against each other on the ice and fans will be treated to some international hockey.


Ron Neufeld resides in Vancouver but is Grande Prairie born and raised. He played hockey with teams such as Legion, Red Devils and Athletics. Along with Stan Neufeld, he serves as the editor and project’s “pen” writing Legend biographies and other material as needed. As a founding member of the Grande Prairie Legends of Hockey committee Ron has played a key role in the success of the project.

Educational services and advocacy for people with special needs has been a major theme throughout Ron’s career with experience in the disciplines of education, mental health and corrections. He has taught, conducted research and served in administrative positions in university settings in both Canada and the United States and is among the pioneers of distance education technologies to promote independent learning and open access to information for students in post secondary institutions. Ron is a retired professor Emeritus from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., an M.A. from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville Tennessee, a B.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

NPHL Finals Wrap

The Stanley Cup Series of the North West
By Stan Neufeld

The Holy Grail, known in this context as the Campbell Cup, is becoming a permanent fixture at the MacLean Rec Centre in Spirit River. The Campbell Cup is to the North Peace Hockey League (NPHL) what the Stanley cup is to the NHL and last night the Rangers won the league championship against the Grimshaw Huskies in convincing fashion by a score of 9 – 1. They won the best of seven series in four straight games.

Ryan Albrecht and D’Lane Sather led a well balanced scoring attack with two goals each while Riley Boomgaarden, Colin Lefley, Khalin Marsolais, Trevor Mazurek and Andrew Buote got singles – there’s the Lefley name again. Ty Wiebe got the lone goal for the Huskies. Assistant coach Mel Vollman got it right when he predicted that if they rolled four lines, finished their checks and capitalized on chances they could finish the series and they did just that.

Assistant Coach and General Manager Mel Vollman said…

“ The Team played exceptionally well last night! I am very proud of this group of young men, the accountability, dedication, skill and commitment is the foundation of our success. It is not easy for the players as it takes a lot of time away from their wives and families. As a coach you learn to appreciate what the guys put into this. They work all day and play their guts out each night and do all over again one or two nights later. They're proud players, that want to win and they want to be the best and that's what we want to do help them get that opportunity with the ultimate goal of being Champions.So I say thanks to a great bunch of guys, coaches, and the executive. This championship is for you guys - each and every one of you should be proud of what you have accomplished. It is a cliché and probably gets over quoted but it is true that good teams can shut down one or two players. However it is awfully hard to shutdown 22 guys that believe in each other and play as a team and that is what defines our team. If you want to be measured by that stick and be the top team you have to be able do it again, again and again. For now, let the guys enjoy this and enjoy their time off and we will see you all next fall.”

Campbell Cup
The Lefley family: Mike (left) Jack, Linda and Colin - Photo by Deri Lefley


The history of the Campbell Cup dates back to the early 1950s. The North Peace Hockey League (NPHL) has the distinction of being the longest continually running senior hockey league currently in existence in Western Canada and Spirit River has been an important part of the history. At this point it seems legitimate to refer to the team as a dynasty.

What defines a sports dynasty? By definition it is “A powerful group or family that maintains its position for considerable time.” What this definition does not include is what is required to maintain that position over time. A good hockey dynasty benchmark is the Edmonton Oiler team with Gretzky, Kurri, Coffee and Fuhr who won five championships in seven seasons 1983-1990. Reflecting on their domination a dynasty calls for consistent performance on the part of players, coaches, the management, and consistent performance for a number of consecutive years. Like the Edmonton Oilers the Spirit River Rangers fit the bill on all fronts. So - let’s take a brief snap shot at the storied past of this hockey team.

Mel Vollman, General Manager and Assistant Coach of the Rangers has been a key part of their winning ways for almost three decades. Interestingly Ranger pride extends back much longer than Vollman’s 30 year association with the team. While there were ups and downs throughout their history the record shows that the Rangers hark back ninety-two years: to1922 – almost a century. During those early years it was pond hockey, open-air arenas and of course natural ice. That was Spirit River’s Romantic Hockey era.

Almost seven decades from those beginnings and building on that heritage along came Mel Vollman, Jack Lefley and an army of volunteers characteristic of small towns and highly motivated citizens with skilled leadership at the helm. They created the MacLean Rec Centre which is to Spirit River what the Wapiti and Memorial Arenas was to Grande Prairie. The MacLean Rec Centre was and is still today the ideal hockey facility for a small community like Spirit River - a great place that the Rangers call Home.

Not everything went smoothly throughout their history. Take October of 1955 for instance when the small community suffered an enormous set back. Their two-year old arena collapsed due to an extra heavy fall of snow. It forced the Spirit River community to drop out of the NWBHL but for only one year – a testimony to the communities dedication to Canada’s game. In December of 1956 hockey picked up where it left off and a team from Spirit River was once again in the League. A proud mayor Mayor George Kosowan had supported the immediate re-building of a new arena that was financed through a $30,000 debenture approved by the tax payers. Except to honour their history and past participants in the game the community and their team has never looked back.

The Rangers were an integral part of the SPHL until the 1960's. In the 1950's and 60’s teams that could afford it would sometimes import players. Typically imports were offered jobs by local businessmen. However, dependence on outsiders almost backfired one year when the “imports” refused to play in the playoffs unless they got more money. From that time forward the Rangers realized that they did not need to rely on fickle imports. Looking at their homegrown talent pool, the community was home to two families that came very close to forming a team: namely the Lefley and Listhaeghe clans. Art Lefley played his first hockey following WW11 in Grande Praire with the GP Legion team. Art had three hockey hungry sons as did John Listhaeghe. On the Lefley side in 1983 – 84 there were Bart, Jack and Tom and the Listhaeghe clan contributed Dan, D’Arcy and Doug. That’ not a bad start to establish a hockey team. These families, along with a regular stream of other local and surrounding area talent, continue to uphold the rich hockey tradition and their modern era indivudual achievements are too numerous to mention here.

In addition to the Lefleys and the Listhaeghe boys a number of Spirit River players stand out. For example Danny Muloin won the SPHL scoring title in the 1060-61 season tallying 33 goals and 14 assists for 47 points. Speaking of records, Muloin’s three goals in one minute to win a game against Dawson Creek 7-6 may never be broken. Four players who were a force for Spirit River during the 1964-65 season included Fred Zasadny, Johnny Listhaeghe, Freddy Hiltz and George Watt. Zasadny, who finished third in the scoring race the year before, scored four goals and collected eight assist to make it 50 goals, (a record), and 50 assists, (also a record), for 100 points, (a third record) for the season.

During the 1970’s The SPHL became the Central Peace Hockey League and with the Athletics, after folding for the second time in 10 years, were part of the North Peace Hockey League along with other former SPHL teams like the Hythe Mustangs, Dawson Creek Canucks and Rangers. The demise of senior hockey started when players started finding alternatives. In November of 1976 the Rangers regained entry into the SPHL and included a forward line consisting of Jack Lefley, Sid Giroux and Darcy Listhaeghe with Tom Lefley on the blue line.

In November of 1972 a meeting in Spirit River was called by well-known hockey veteran Johnny Listhaeghe of the Central Peace town " We're trying to get hockey revived in Spirit River, one of the best hockey centres in the Peace country,” said Listhaeghe, who that year hung up his players’s skates after 22 seasons. Listhaeghe was firmly convinced that the Rangers were one of the top drawing SPHL teams before they folded seven years earlier. They had operated for 11 years out of the Ice Palace, finishing first twice. They dropped to the bottom of the league in their final season, 1965 – 66. Back to the Ranger dynasty today - they have won the Cup a record 4 times in a row and five times in six years.

The more recent history of Spirit River’s domination Is outlined below.

2015-16: four game sweep over Grimshaw Huskies
2014-15: 4-2 game series over Grande Prairie Athletics

Note: For the first time in league history the Grande Prairie Athletics took a leave of absence during the 2015-2016 season. Kurt Robinson is spearheading a new plan to get the team back in the league for the upcoming season.

2013-14: four game sweep over the Falher Pirates
2012-13: four game sweep over Lakeland Eagles
2010-11: defeated Falher Pirates 4-1 in games

Do the Rangers deserve recognition as a dynasty in the North Peace Hockey league? I would say a resounding YES - especially since it is reported that Art and Johnny have an army of grandchildren poised to carry on the Lefley/Listhaeghe hockey tradtion. It’s in their blood.