1938 Trail hockey photo fetches $114.50

They didn’t have much of a season this year, but the Trail Smoke Eaters are always winners in the eyes of collectors.

Smoke Eaters photo

Smoke Eaters photo



Another installment in an ongoing series about local artifacts on eBay.

They didn’t have much of a season this year, but the Trail Smoke Eaters are always winners in the eyes of collectors.

Several items from the hockey team’s storied past have sold recently, chief among them an 8×10 publicity photo of the 1938 team that went for $114.50 US.

The team won the Allan Cup, earning a berth in the following year’s world championship, where they breezed to victory.

The picture shows headshots of all the players and executives, as well as the other hardware they collected en route: the Daily News, McBride, Savage, and Patton cups, for the championships of the Kootenay Boundary, BC interior, province, and western Canada respectively.

The photo’s reverse is signed by Harry Matthews of Trail and Dick Arter of Victoria, although neither played for the team.

The seller, who was in Vancouver, also offered up the most interesting item that failed to sell last week: a gold locket inscribed “T.H.C., 1921, K & B Champs” on the front and “F. Laurient, R.W.” on the back.

Translation: Trail Hockey Club, 1921 Kootenay and Boundary champions, Frank Laurient(e), right wing. Frank and brother Hank were Trail hockey stars and owned Lauriente’s Men’s Wear and Lauriente’s Grocery in the Gulch.

There were no takers at the minimum bid of $395 US.

However, a copy of the February 1963 issue of Hockey Canada, with a cover shot of the Smoke Eaters boarding a bus in their red wool coats, sold for $23.50 US.

This issue contained a story by team president James Cameron that expounded on the false origins of the team’s name — erroneously attributing it to a cartoon instead of the Trail smelter.

The story was reprinted that fall in the team’s yearbook — a copy of which sold this month for $28 US. The seller of the latter was in Randolph, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, two press photos of the ’61 world champion Smoke Eaters getting off planes can be yours for $99 US each.

The first was taken in Oslo and is dated January 30, 1961. The second, snapped on February 16, 1961, shows the team arriving in Prague.

However, the seller, who is in Stockholm, is away until April 6.

Finally, a ca. 1950s orange and black matchbook cover of the Cominco Arena sold for $19.50 US, along with a bunch of others from Trail businesses.

Legendary curler Reg Stone was listed on the cover as arena manager.

The seller, who was in Toronto, sold an identical one for $12.50 US in 2009.

For more noteworthy hockey-related Trail items that have sold on eBay in the last decade, see the fourth issue of the Trail Journal of Local History, on sale now.

This story will appear in the March 29 edition of the West Kootenay Advertiser.