There’s something about this place – is it the water?

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A Gold medal for Cody Hodgson

Gav on Sports
By Terrance Gavan
In a town the size of Haliburton serendipity – that accidental collision of separate events leading to an aha! – is almost a state of mind.
Last summer, in the McKecks Blue Line pub, as Maarten Steinkamp was spinning ideas and proselytizing about getting a book done about Haliburton Hockey, a couple of interlopers barged into the conversation.
“Hey Steinkamp, that’s our idea!”
Now Maarten is a very nice man.
So he didn’t tell the twin tandem of munificent ideologues, Charlie Teljeur and Wayde Greer, to shut their bloody pie-holes.
Instead Steinkamp pulled up a chair and said “Okay, so let’s talk.”
And they talked and they talked – Charlie and Wayde telling Maarten that they were planning a film documentary on Haliburton hockey.
And last Monday Charlie and Maarten were still talking.
Subject of the conversation?
The first part of a serendipitous dream hatched in a sports bar, the book – “There’s Something About This Place, A small village and its incredible connections with the NHL” – will go on sale beginning next Wednesday (Feb 16).

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The Haliburton Hurricane is Matthew Duchene

Steinkamp, who worked with Teljeur and Sellebration Books – a local publisher of charitable books managed by Andrea Hilo – to get this deal done, says that the unbundled first copies will roll out, appropriately enough, at the Hockey Night in Haliburton hot stove night at Northern Lights Pavilion, an event run in conjunction with Winterfest 2011.
It figures to be a great night – Scotty Morrison has assembled a great panel of guests including the Stanley Cup – so bring along an extra $24.95 to purchase one of the first copies.
Steinkamp and Teljeur want to stress that all proceeds from sales will be going to fund minor hockey programs in Haliburton.
The first press roll was held at 1000 copies – and I have one – so there’s only 999 left folks.
And it’s a worthy read.
From raw beginnings back in the bush in the late 1800’s Haliburton hockey has evolved to a spot where we can now legitimately boast four home grown sons who took their first steps on ice here in the Highlands; and then followed their own dreams to the National Hockey League.
Ron Stackhouse, Bernie Nicholls, Cody Hodgson and our very own Hurricane Matt Duchene.
Something about this place?
Teljeur has done his homework, and he states his case with humour, and the historical references and anecdotal landmarks that we have come to expect from well-written hockey books.
Teljeur brings some of his own reminiscences about what he calls the seminal influence in this burgeoning of Highlands talent, the Haliburton Hockey Haven.
“What really brought Haliburton stature and notoriety, beyond question,” writes Teljeur, “was the Haliburton Hockey Haven, a summer camp/hockey school started by Wren Blair and Jim Gregory in 1964-65.”
Reeve Murray Fearrey said it brought jobs and palpable prestige to the village. “The impact wasn’t just that the school brought up well-known hockey players but that some of these hockey players also brought property in the county as seasonal and full residents.”
Teljeur remembers those heady days. Running into Bobby Orr or Walt McKechnie downtown on a hot July day. In its heyday the camp boasted 30-plus professional instructors. Teljeur stares wistfully to the sky – perhaps lamenting his hands of stone and lack of wheels – saying that their mere presence formed an impetus for boyhood dreams.
Enter Ron Stackhouse the true pioneer of the floating legend. From Haliburton Stackhouse went to Peterborough and played for one of the most innovative minds in hockey, the legendary Roger Neilson. Yes, Captain Video.
Stackhouse credits Neilson and his two years with the Pete’s for his development.
He was drafted by the Oakland Seals in the 1969 amateur draft.
Different times back then.
Stackhouse was informed by the Seals only two weeks after that draft, when he got a letter in the mail.
Teljeur says that Stackhouse became the bellwether for another young kid Bernie Nicholls.
I know that it wasn’t till I read the book, that I realized or remembered just how good Nicholls was. There’s a nice story in the book about how Bernie bought the family a dish so they could watch him toil alongside Wayne Gretzky in LA-LA land.
“On a good day there’s 75 people in West Guilford and here I am seeing sunshine and palm trees and there’s 10,000,000 people in the city,” says Nicholls, who adds that he never felt so far from his roots.
And the book brings us to the present and full circle with the de rigueur stories and interviews with both Matthew Duchene and Cody Hodgson.
“The timing couldn’t be better with Cody,” laughs Teljeur. When he finished the book, Hodgson was still waiting for his shot at the show. And just two weeks ago, as the book was rolling off the press, Hodgson was called up to the Vancouver Canucks and scored his first goal and first assists in his first three games.
And of course what can we say about Matt Duchene that hasn’t already been illuminated in the press, on television, in the All-Star game. Well how about this. Peter Forsberg, a 37-year-old wunderkind has re-signed with the Colorado Avalanche. For Duchene, it’s a dream come true for a small town kid who grew up in an old barn with a picture of two NHLer’s painted on the side.
Last summer Matty joined Bernie and Stack on the side of the Haliburton Arena.
“It’s unusual for a town this size to have four players in the NHL,” says Teljeur.
And he’s right.
But what is it?
Well, pick up a copy of the book knuckleheads.
It will be on sale around town, after the roll out next Wednesday at the Northern Lights.
It’s nature versus nurture. An old argument.
Or is it “Something in the Water?”
Well, I’m spilling the beans here.
The documentary film – Something in the Water? – is in the works and both Teljeur and Steinkamp are in the process of raising $100,000 necessary to produce a TV ready documentary.
And oh, by the way, they’re also investigating a possible bid to the CBC for inclusion in the next Kraft Hockey Ville sweepstakes.
But first things first.
Reach deep and plop a “Deuce and a Sawbuck” on the table.
Support minor hockey knuckleheads. I know you will.
Because there’s something about this place.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]