1951-52 Mad Hatters
You could make a very convincing argument that the 51-52 Biltmores were the best Junior ‘A’ hockey team ever. Eight players from this team went on to play in the NHL, and when you consider there were only 6 teams at the time, with a maximum of 120 players, it’s even more impressive.
Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, Leapin’ Lou Fontinato, Bill McCreardy, Dean Prentice, Aldo Giudolin, Ron Stewart and Ron Murphy all went on to the big leagues. Bathgate and Howell are now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The team was special to the fans too, because Fontinato, Guidolin and Chuck Henderson were all local boys. Kenny Laufman, Jim Connelly, Danny Blair, Frank Bettiol and Henderson were born about 15 years too soon to cash in on the NHL expansion, but went on to have outstanding senior careers. Laufman also played for Canada in the 1960 Olympics, with Chick Chalmers setting all kinds of records as a minor pro.
Thanks to an ‘eye-brow raising’ trade by General Manager Roy Mason that brought Stewart to the team just before the playoffs, the Biltmores, coached by Alf Pike, swept Regina Pates in four games to win the Memorial Cup.
Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Team category – on June 2, 1993