Just in time for the Coy Cup, three murals showing the proud hockey history of the Cariboo are up for everyone to admire in the Cariboo Memorial Complex.
Commissioned by the City of Williams Lake, for Rogers Hometown Hockey, the murals were created by local artist Dwayne Davis, and showcase three legendary Cariboo hockey teams.
The first is an image of the Alkali Braves from 1931. The team was the first in the area, and won the B.C. Northern League title, earning the opportunity to play against the professional Vancouver Commercials.
The second shows the 1960-61 Williams Lake Stampeders Waller Cup Champions.
The final mural is of the 1982-83 Williams Lake Mustangs, who were PCJHL Jr. A Champions.
“All three teams are champions in their own right and all of the guys from there are pillars of our community and great role models for all the younger kids,” said Davis, who worked on them throughout the winter.
“Now a lot of the guys there — even some of their grandkids are playing.”
Davis said the idea came about initially with the image of the Alkali Braves.
He then wanted to connect the Stampeders, but also to bring junior hockey into the mix.
What he didn’t realize was how long it would take to paint.
“If you look at them, there are 24 portraits in one, 23 in the next and 10 in the other one. There are a lot of faces. I’m used to doing faces, but doing that many altogether and trying to make them all work. It was a happy challenge.”
Mayor Walt Cobb saw the murals for the first time Tuesday afternoon, and spent plenty of time admiring them.
“Wow. It brings back some memories,” he told the Tribune. “It’s history, alright. A lot of those guys I knew, believe it or not.”
Both Cobb and Davis have fond memories of the more recent teams, and hockey in general throughout the Cariboo.
“It meant everything — it kept me out of a lot of trouble, you had curfews, you had games, you had stuff to do on the weekends. Without it you would be in a lot of trouble in a town like this,” said Davis, adding that he graduated in ‘83 so knew a number of the members of the Mustang team. The Stamps were also the first team Davis saw play as a young boy.
“For me it was always a weekend in town,” said Cobb. “I always lived out of town and it was special we could come to watch a hockey game on a Saturday night.”
Both also talked about the possibility of future murals — even ones that could represent the recent Timberwolves Midget Female provincial victory.
For now, they’re there for anyone to check out.
“I just think it’s a great addition and hope they will be around for a long time,” said Davis.
“It’s just part of the history of the Cariboo, it’s really kind of neat,” added Cobb.