Marshall Severyn (back row, second from far right) won two Savage Cups with the Nelson Maple Leafs, one as a player and another as a coach. Photo submitted

Remembering Nelson hockey legend Marshall Severyn

Severyn played and coached the Nelson Maple Leafs

Marshall Severyn might have been teammates with Jackie Robinson if the Brooklyn Dodgers hadn’t been so cheap.

Severyn is remembered as a hockey legend in Nelson, but in 1950 he attended a Dodgers training camp in California as a pitcher and was given a spot on the team’s minor league roster.

He turned the Dodgers down. They’d offered him $55 a month, but he opted to make more playing for the Delisle Gems in Saskatchewan.

Severyn’s son Pat remains convinced his father would have cracked the Dodgers’ lineup that went on to four World Series appearances between 1952-56.

“He could really throw a baseball. I’m not kidding ya,” said Pat. “At 65 years old he’d still get up at family reunions and throw heat. He had all the tools back then.”

Happily for Nelson hockey fans, Severyn’s baseball career never made it to the Show.

Severyn played for the Nelson Maple Leafs from 1951 to 1964 and coached the team twice (1969-71 and 1976-78). He passed away on Nov. 20 at age 87.

After attending a Chicago Blackhawks training camp, Severyn was supposed to play in Spokane but arrived to a full roster. The coach suggested he spend the remainder of the season with a team in Anchorage, Alaska.

On his way back from Anchorage to Spokane, Severyn stopped in Nelson and met his future wife Mary Morrison, who was working at the CP Rail station. Severyn joined the Maple Leafs in 1951, won the senior hockey provincial championship Savage Cup final in 1961 and again as the Leafs’ coach in 1971.

Related:

Malacko, Maglio were Leafs’ staples in ’50s

Leafs legend Fritz Koehle passes away

Severyn’s legacy is highlighted by coaching an unheralded Nelson bantam team to a provincial championship in 1969. The team, which included future NHL players Pat Price and Danny Gare, was a heavy underdog against the North Shore Winter Club.

“They came into North Shore, where North Shore even had numbers on their skates and everything matched,” said Pat. “If you’ve seen a picture of the Nelson team, they had an ‘N’ on their jersey, some of their jerseys didn’t match, they were like hillbillies from upcountry.”

Prior to the championship, Pat said his father became incensed at a perceived slight from the opposing team.

“Their coach made a comment to my dad. ‘Gee, that’s a nice little team you got there.’ It pissed my dad off so badly that he went into the dressing room, and he gave a pre-game speech to these kids.”

Nelson went on to stun North Shore, winning the city’s first and only provincial bantam title.

“That’s my dad,” said Pat, who was also coached by his father along with brother Marc on the Leafs in the late 1970s.

“He kind of lived by that when it came to hockey. He didn’t care how you played. You win, and nobody remembers if you played nice or not nice, but they just remember if you won. That was his motto. Us growing up as kids too. It’s the way he was.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson plans for Clearwater Creek as additional water source

Existing Selous and Anderson Creek sources to be upgraded

Trafalgar Thunder win gold, silver at Oliver volleyball tournament

The girls finished first while the boys team just lost out in the final

Kootenay Rhythm Dragons get a helping hand moving boat

The 800-pound boat was moved out of the water for repairs

Trick or tree! Nelson teen raises Halloween money for tree planting

Gala Snir Shaool might stop by your house on Halloween night

Two Nelson Police officers investigated for misconduct

The investigations were made public in an annual report

VIDEO: L.V. Rogers staff get new looks

The school met its Terry Fox fundraising goal, which also met a change in style for several staff

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

Alcohol available onboard BC Ferries starting Thursday

Beer and wine sales begin at 11 a.m. on select Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay sailings

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

Most Read