Kimberley hockey history

Dynamiter Barry 'Ginger' Craig, hardrock defenceman

Barry Craig.

ANTHONY DRANSFELD

 

Ask any Old Timer about Barry ” Ginger ” Craig, the hardrock Kimberley Dynamiter (Senior A) defenceman who patrolled the blueline for the Nitros from 1953  to 1961, coming to Kimberley from Junior hockey in the Crowsnest (Bellevue Coalers).

Even by today’s standards Barr,y  or Ginger as most people called him, was a big defenceman, who was a smooth skater and very adept at the art of the hip check, but Ginger could  certainly clear out traffic in front of the Dynamiter net too. “Ginger” also played up on the forward line when called upon.

We brought Barry Craig out to play in a charity hockey game at Christmas of 1969. Actually Bill Steenson recruited his old team mate “Ginger” to play for us, teaming up with Tiger Bill on the D Line.  Our Coach Frank “Sully” Sullivan played ” Steener  and  Ginger Craig  most of the third period.

The Junior A College team was coming at us and our goalie Alan “Fabby” Fabro in waves. Bill rushed the puck quite a bit that night  while Barry Craig stayed home and took care of the back end. Craig had not been on skates for a good while.

Seeing an old pro at work (like Ginger) was neat, pretty smooth out there, for an old guy and very cool under fire.

Ginger Craig was very fortunate in 2001  when he met June  while golfing. June and Barry have been a duo ever since wintering in Nevada near Las Vegas.

They both love  the links and split their time between Marysville and Nevada. June is originally from Detroit (with three children of her own) and is a big Red Wings and Detroit Tigers fan.

Ginger Craig played with some excellent hockey players here in Kimberley, Sully Sullivan (Sr.) Gerry Barre, Earl Betker, Billy Hryciuk, Sammy Calles Sr, Ray McNiven  Sandy Sanderson and Les Lilley, when they competed for the Allan Cup  (Amateur Hockey Supremacy in Canada).

As Stoney said to me recently  Ginger Craig was a big hitter, but a clean player, never using his stick in his job as a physical defenceman for the Kimberley Dynamiters, he always played a  good game on the road too, particularly in Spokane Washington where they appreciated the big redhead.

Back in the day Barry Craig was a big D man who skated well and shot the puck with unerring accuracy. To quote John ” Stoney” Stone,’ Ginger Craig never used his hockey stick as a weapon, hit very hard but cleanly, and was a good enough skater that Harry Brown , and subsequent coaches would put Craig up on the forward line where he acquitted himself very well.

One thing for sure about ” Ginger” you knew you were getting a great effort each and every night. He was an old school hockey player, coming to Kimberley when they still had the old rink and natural ice. If you came to town and Cominco gave you a job before the start of the Dynamiter training camp, chances are you were a pretty good player.

Personally I saw many forlorn hockey players with their hockey bag and suitcase waiting for the evening Greyhound to take them back to wherever they came from. Barry Craig never had to go back to Wetaskiwin, Alberta on the bus.

With size and skating ability Barry ‘ Ginger ” Craig was an integral part of the Kimberley Senior A Dynamiters for many years, teaming up with Gordon Andrea on the blueline. He stuck around Kimberley after his hockey retirement, where he worked in the Surveyors Department until his retirement, and then began a career building houses with Stevie Vandermatten. “Ginger went to Referee School in Winnipeg back in the day, and then began to officiate in the Western International Hockey League, first as a linesman, and then as a referee.  Barry met his wife Myra Beattie here in Kimberley. She was the sister of ” Tick ” Beattie, a solid Kimberley Dynamiter hockey player.  Ginger and Myra have three  children, Neil, Debbie and Kelli. Actually Barry has three grandchildren Tyler, Shannon and Henry, and is a Great Grandad too ( Alexis). Sadly, Myra passed away 10 years ago. Barry Craig will be 80 years young on October 27, and is one of most popular hockey players to come through here, because of his excellent play and ever present smile.

Just Posted

Tall Pines neighbourhood in Kimberley working towards FireSmart certification

The Tall Pines Strata Council has asked the City for a covenant exemption to remove 13 hazardous trees

New accessible doors at Kimberley Civic Centre

Just in time for hockey season, the City of Kimberley has completed… Continue reading

Kimberley climber off to world championships

Kimberley’s TJ Foley, age 15, has been climbing for about five years,… Continue reading

New initiative ‘KORE’ aims to attract outdoor industry to Kimberley as economic development

The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Society hopes to attract product designers, testers, manufacturers to the Kootenays.

Kimberley couple receive Quilts of Valour

A couple of quilts for a couple who served. Cindy Postnikoff was… Continue reading

Kimberley news recap

A quick recap of the top news stories this week in Kimberley

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read