From that fine part-time Orillia boy Stephen Leacock.
“In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter…we are alive.”
Leacock was, of course, a world-renown humorist who in 1912 upset a bunch of locals after he’d made fun of the barber and undertaker and others in his book about Orillia called Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. My parents used to see his son Stephen Junior walking around town.
His beautiful Oriilia summer home, now a museum, sits on the shores of Lake Couchiching, a nice lake full of sunfish, perch and wee little bass, and where the odd time over the years someone would tell the newspaper they saw a sea serpent.
And although Stephen was originally from England, he seemed to get what hockey meant to many Canadians. He could’ve even been a Habs fan and followed the exploits of Vezina, Lalonde, Joliat, and Morenz and the boys when he was a professor and lecturer at McGill University in Montreal from 1900 to 1936.
Heck, he might have even taken a stroll to the Forum and watched the Montreal Maroons in 1934-35 when a young Toe Blake played eight games for them.
Stephen died in March of 1944, and if he could’ve held on for another fifteen years or so, he might have seen me and my friends out on Lake Couchiching, whether it was swimming and fishing in summer or skating on the frozen lake in winter.
He might have made fun of us in a book like he did with the barber and undertaker and the rest in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Maybe called it Sunshine Sketches of a Little Team.