SUTHERLANDS RIVER — Student athletes from East Pictou Rural High School basked in the glory of past championships on Saturday as part of a high school reunion.
The list included members of the rugby team that won the provincial high school championship in 1969 and the hockey team that won the 1959 provincial hockey honours.
The rugby team got a pleasant surprise when the game ball from their best-of-five playoff victory against New Glasgow High School was recovered.
Danny Walsh,who grew up in Merigomish and resides in Westville, was able to track down the ball recently. The irony is that he got help from teammate Syd Smith, who resides in Washington State and returned home for the reunion.
“It will be 50 years in September since we won,” Walsh said.
East Pictou team captain John Weir was able to recall the scores of the Blue Eagles’ three-game sweep against New Glasgow. East Pictou won 41-2 and 6-0 in New Glasgow and clinched the series with a 24-5 victory at East Pictou.
The Eagles went on to win the provincial championship against Kings-Edgehill.
Forward Lowell MacDonald, defenceman Grant Forbes and goalies Cameron McKay and Billy Chisholm were among hockey players reunited from the team that won the provincial championship in 1959.
MacDonald said East Pictou was not always as strong as the team that captured top honours and recalled how strong New Glasgow High School’s teams were at the time.
“I was talking to (former NGHS player) Fraser MacLean that we learned to count from all the pucks we had to get out of our goal net when New Glasgow scored,” he said.
The athletes were among hundreds of East Pictou graduates who attended an open house on Saturday.
There were light refreshments outside as well as inside in the school’s cafeteria.
They were able to view the displays of championship banners and other sports memorabilia places on tables in the cafeteria.
Front row, from left: captain John Weir, coach Keith Melanson and Syd Smith hold the game ball the East Pictou Blue Eagles used to win the 1969 provincial high school rugby championship. Back row: Mike Hecimovich, Rob Ross, Art Forsyth, Danny Walsh, Keith Murdoch and Eric Williams. (Goodwin photo)