Trail Smoke Eaters logo part of team lore
Part of an ongoing series looking at local collectibles.
The Trail Smoke Eaters logo is nearly as well known as the hockey team’s very name. The earliest incarnation — an orange ring with two billowing smoke stacks in the centre — appears to have been designed in the mid-1930s.
Mickey Brennan, who played on the 1939 world championship team, told the Trail Times in 1978 that it was designed by a Cominco general office type named Jimmy Rude. “As I recall, he was just a hockey fan with a flair for that sort of thing,” Brennan said.
A copy of one of the first programs to use the logo sold last month on eBay for $68 US despite many missing pages.
It was for a March 4, 1936 match between Trail and Kimberley, the third game in the West Kootenay Hockey League best-of-five league final. Hugo Mackie scored a hat trick in leading the Dynamiters to a 6-3 win. Jimmy Morris, Ab Cronie, and Nick Andreashuk scored for Trail. Kimberley went on to take the series three games to one.
The program, produced by the Trail Booster Club, contains ads for the Company Store, Sherman’s Billiards, and Wagstaff Hardware, among others. It also contained contributions by hockey legends Lester Patrick, Lionel and Charlie Conacher, and Frank Boucher.
The logo, which appears on the cover, has since gone through several refinements, most dramatically in 2000 when the team executive agreed to remove the smoke altogether, given financial incentives from image-conscious Cominco.
It caused a bit of an outcry at the time — one pundit claimed it was like taking the H out of the Montreal Canadiens logo — but the smoke-free crest, featuring chimneys that look more like upright finger guns, is the one the team wears to this day.
• Another program for a 1962 Allan Cup final match between Trail and the Montreal Olympics sold for $58 US. Trail hosted that series and won, four games to one.
• A 1953 postmark from the Lower Arrow Lakes community of Broadwater sold recently for $56 Cdn. The post office there operated from 1912 to 1954. Another example of a Broadwater cancel sold last July for $66. The community’s name lives on in the road that goes from Brilliant to Deer Park.
• A 1950 postmark from Brouse, just south of Nakusp, sold for $36 Cdn. The post office operated there from 1910-17, and 1932-64.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on January 10.