whitby dunlops reunion feature
Whitby Dunlops who attended the 60th anniversary reunion (L to R): John Chasczewski, Doug Williams, Frank Bonello, Jack McKenzie and Sandy Air.
Together again
Sixty years after winning gold at the 1958 IIHF World Championship, members of the Whitby Dunlops gathered for a reunion
Brian Winter
June 28, 2018

Five members of the Whitby Dunlops, who won Canada’s 17th gold medal at the 1958 IIHF World Championship, assembled June 16 at the home of their late captain, Bob Attersley, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their achievement.

John Chasczewski, Doug Williams, Frank Bonello, Jack McKenzie and Sandy Air were present for the reunion, along with the widows of Gordie Myles, Alf Treen and Ted O’Connor. Tom O’Connor, George Samolenko, Harry Sinden, John Henderson and Charlie Burns were unable to attend.

The Dunnies, as they were known locally, held reunions on the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their world championship win, but after the 2010 passing of Attersley, the star centre who scored the game-winning goal against the Soviet Union, his widow, Joan, and Air began hosting annual reunions in Whitby.

Joan’s illness prevented a reunion in 2017, and she passed away a few months later.

“It had always been her wish that a reunion be held for the 60th anniversary,” said Sandy Air, who proposed a toast to Joan Attersley as the inspiration for the reunions.

Marion Irwin, whose husband Bill attended the 1958 IIHF World Championship as Dunlops’ “number-one fan,” was on hand to present author Ken Lehman – whose 2012 book The Legendary Whitby Dunlops chronicled the road to gold – with a silver tray from the 25th anniversary in 1983.

The Dunlops, who had swept the Spokane Flyers in four games to claim the Allan Cup as Canada’s national senior champions in 1957, took an ocean liner to Europe because team manager Wren Blair was terrified of flying.

After a 14-game exhibition tour – during which they lost just once – Whitby dominated the competition in Oslo, going a perfect 7-0 while outscoring its opponents 82-6.

It clinched gold with a 4-2 win over the Soviets on the final day of the tournament, claiming victory at the height of the Cold War; the team had received hundreds of telegrams, including one from Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, wishing them luck.

The Dunlops were the first inductees into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, one year after they were inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
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Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
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Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
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Mobile: 403-612-2893
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