Back L-R: George Ferguson, Addy Tambellini, Harry Smith, Norm Lenardon, Ed Cristofoli. Front L-R: President James Cameron (with camera), Walt Peacosh and Harold Jones. Photo: Dave Rusnell c/o Trail Historical Society.

Back L-R: George Ferguson, Addy Tambellini, Harry Smith, Norm Lenardon, Ed Cristofoli. Front L-R: President James Cameron (with camera), Walt Peacosh and Harold Jones. Photo: Dave Rusnell c/o Trail Historical Society.

Trail Blazers: A Candid Moment in Time

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Capturing a classic moment in time on film doesn’t mean the person behind the lens has set up and framed a technically perfect image.

It means the photographer has fleetingly captured a once-in-a-lifetime second-in-time, and forever ensconced it onto one cell of film.

Doing just that is this photograph that ‘61 Smoke Eater player Dave Rusnell snapped of his teammates during a tour across Europe 60 years ago.

From clothing style to haircuts and old-timey camera, to the subjects just goofing around and having a good time, this largely unseen photo of Trail Smoke Eater champs truly captures a moment in time.

Sarah Benson-Lord, from the Trail Museum and Archives, explains how this photo only recently came to be part of the city’s historical collection.

Sixty years ago (March 12 to be exact) residents of Trail huddled around their radios to listen to the final World Hockey Championship game played in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Trail Smoke Eaters beat Russia to clinch a second world title for the city.

Considered the underdog, the Smoke Eaters only represented Canada when 1960 Allan Cup champs, the Chatham Maroons, turned down the trip.

Playing coach Bobby Kromm spent the year stacking his team, while the executive worked hard to fundraise for a six-week European tour, expected to cost $42,000, which is over $375,000 in today’s currency.

The team departed Trail on Jan. 26, 1961 and made a few Canadian stops before landing in Europe on Jan. 30.

The team played five weeks of exhibition games across Europe, taking in the sights and meeting many people along the way.

Owner of Brothers Studio in Trail, Ted Brothers, provided Rusnell with a camera and film and encouraged him to document the trip.

“Dave did just that and recently, he generously shared his photos from the trip,” Benson-Lord said.

“Capturing the gents in their down time, the collection is a special one, featuring the team in various European cities and engaging with fans.”

Benson-Lord encourages the community to visit the Trail Museum and Archives’ Sports Gallery to learn all about the legacy of the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Located in the Trail Riverfront Centre, visitors are limited due to pandemic restrictions, and masks are mandatory.

Read more: Take a tour of the Trail museum

Read more: Trail Blazers- When two towns became oneSide bar to When two towns became one

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