Canada won gold in men’s hockey at the Olympics in 2002 and 2010, which further buried the accomplishments of the 1952 Edmonton Mercurys in time. With Mercurys players dwindling to a precious few almost 62 years later, it’s still a story worth telling.
We just finished putting the finishing touches on our 124-page Olympic collector’s edition magazine called Chasing Glory. It sets the table for all the nations in both men’s and women’s hockey at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in February. It makes for an ideal Christmas stocking stuffer and is available for sale in a couple of weeks.
One story that grabbed my attention was researching the 1952 Edmonton Mercurys team that represented Canada at the Games in Oslo and won gold. It was Canada’s last gold in men’s hockey for 50 years until Joe Sakic, Mario Lemieux, Martin Brodeur and Co., beat the Americans in the championship game in Salt Lake City in 2002.
The Mercurys were chosen in 1952 because they were deemed to be 100 percent amateur. All their members were employees of the Waterloo Mercurys car dealership in Edmonton. A number of other amateur teams applied for the right to represent Canada, but it was too cost prohibitive to have a national tournament to determine a representative. And because the Mercurys won the World Championship title in 1950, it was decided they would represent the country well.
An interesting tidbit I learned from Edmonton hockey historian David Martell was that in winning the Olympic title, the Mercurys were presented with likely the same trophy they won at the 1950 World Championship.
In Martell’s personal collection of Mercurys memorabilia, he has images showing the Edmonton team being awarded a 1952 Olympic trophy that matches the one it won two years earlier at the worlds. In years in which there was an Olympic hockey tournament, the World Championship was not held. So presumably, the Mercurys were asked to bring their 1950 World Championship trophy with them to the Oslo Games.
And when the Mercurys played unbeaten through the Olympics, they were awarded a trophy they already had won. That’s certainly the way it appears in Martell’s photos.
Martell did spend some time with Mercurys captain Billy Dawe just a few months before Dawe’s passing at age 88 in Edmonton. Martell says Dawe could recall being awarded the trophy at the Olympics, but couldn’t recall its origin. Dawe retired from hockey after the Oslo Games and got a promotion to parts manager at Waterloo Mercury and later became a partner in the firm.
The number of Olympic gold Mercurys still with us is down to five. They are: Bruce Dickson, 82, Don Gauf, 86, Bob Meyers, 89, Gord Robertson, 87, and Eric Peterson, 84.
The above image is from the personal collection of David Martell. The No. 12 Mercurys game-worn sweater belonged to Louis Secco. It was worn by the Edmonton-based team in an exhibition tournament leading up to the 1952 Olympics.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN