My Uncle Dennis Kassian played for the Edmonton Oilers (Alberta Oilers) in the World Hockey League, which eventually became the NHL. My Grandpa Ed Kassian, was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and played for the Vancouver Canucks. But his biggest hockey accomplishment was winning gold at the World Hockey Championship for Canada in 1955 with Team Canada, the Pentiction Vees.
When the call went out for someone to restore Canada’s pride in international hockey in the mid 1950s, the Penticton Vee’s stood up and answered that call. They earned the right to represent Canada at the World Championships by virtue of their 1954 Allan Cup Championship. It was that day’s version of Canada’s Olympic Hockey Team.
The Vee’s blanked the defending champion Soviets 5-0 in the championship game. The final game was broadcast from coast-to-coast in Canada on CBC radio. The broadcast was said to have attracted the largest radio audience in Canadian history, up to that time. They were Canada’s Hockey Heros.
The whole team was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. A stunning sculpture has been erected in the town of Penticton, BC, to commemorate the victory.
I’m proud of my Grandpa’s hockey legacy. And I’m grateful for all his love and support over the years. I hope to do him proud — in becoming a pro hockey player, but more importantly, in becoming a man of integrity and character, like him.
Category: Up Close and Personal