The City of Vernon became famous 60 years ago in 1956. There were only six NHL hockey teams in the 1950s so many excellent hockey players played for senior hockey teams.
The Okanagan Valley attracted many of these players in the 1950s. Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon all had victorious teams, however, the Vernon team had more years of victories than Kelowna or Penticton.
The Vernon Canadians won the Canadian championship in 1956 and received the Allan Cup.
They had also won the Western Canadian championship in 1955 and had gone all of the way to the Allan Cup finals in 1959.
Thanks to Morning Star writer Roger Knox who reminded readers about this history in an article he wrote April 29, entitled, “It was a great thing for Vernon,” for his excellent story of this history.
Penticton’s old Memorial Arena has an entire shrine about the 1954 Allan Cup champs, the old Penticton Vees senior team.
The Kelowna Packers senior hockey team was celebrated in a big way around 2007 for its 50-year reunion but that team only made it to the Allan Cup finals and lost game seven, and did not win the Allan Cup.
The entire North Okanagan only had a population of around 10,000 people in the 1950s yet the Civic Arena would be packed with spectators at almost every home game.
Hopefully the City of Vernon will keep the history of the 1956 Allan Cup champion team alive for generations to come.