Hockey is huge, especially in Canada. Teams compete nationally against each other vying for that one goal – Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Even beyond that, great nations from all over the world compete at the Olympics to gain a gold medal only once every four years.
But even before hockey became as huge a sport it is today, there were guys playing it on the outdoor ponds right here in the Kootenays. Guys like Bill Barrow.
Barrow, 81, has lived along the Arrow Lakes his whole life. He was born in 1930 and grew up watching his father play hockey with his friends.
He would watch them play intense games every time he could. He would be there so much, cheering on his dad’s team and trying to be as much a part of it as he could that he was even named the team’s mascot when he was 12-years-old.
This earned him his first trophy – a Nakusp hockey jersey.
But by that age, he already had his mind on what he considered the Stanley Cup of the Kootenays: The Cornwall Cup.
“It’s a very famous cup,” Barrow told the Arrow Lakes News. “It was won by Sandon in 1909 and 1913 and 1914.”
Barrow said the cup would go on to be competed for and won by New Denver and Slocan during his time growing up. But not once did Nakusp get a shot at the title.
Not until 1949, when he was 19-years-old, a young left-winger who would help drive his team to a championship game versus Slocan City.
“We never did win that cup,” Barrow admits. “But it’s never been played for since.”
Barrow maintains that was the last time Nakusp ever played for the Cornwall Cup, and says it still sits in the office in Slocan today.
Despite this being the highlight of Barrow’s career, he has been an avid hockey fan since he could remember. Both on the local, national and international level.
In fact, he still goes out and skates at the arena once in awhile. He also catches the latest hockey games whenever he can.
Barrow was also instrumental in helping build Nakusp’s hockey rinks (as were written about in the Jan. 19 issue).
“It’s very important to me,” Barrow said of the arena. “I was always involved in supporting it, even if I didn’t play.”
Barrow is truly one of the oldest living hockey players in Nakusp. He has followed the game avidly his whole life, and you can bet he will be at as many games as he can, sitting back and taking in the sport he loves so much.