When the Galt major midgets captured the 1983 provincial championship at Galt Arena, they ended a drought of nearly half a century and entered the history books by becoming the first minor hockey club from Galt to win an all-Ontario title.
The provincial finale was dramatic, going the seven-game limit before the Galt Mr. Optician major midgets bettered a speedy club from Richmond Hill 5-3 to win the coveted provincial title.
It was a hard-fought win, and literally came down to the final minutes of the seventh game.
A jubilant Galt captain Brian Giroux, 17, summed it up when he said: “All that sweat paid off. We came all the way. We just couldn’t let this one go.”
Galt triumphed over five other squads to qualify for the finals, beating Stratford, Preston, Fort Erie, Owen Sound and St. Thomas.
The final game of the title series against Richmond Hill was a nailbiter. Galt squandered a 3-2 lead with less than four minutes remaining in regulation time. Richmond Hill never gave up, and their hustle, which characterized their play throughout the series, paid off as the game neared its end. But Galt got a goal from defenceman Dean Turgeon with just over a minute remaining to go up by a goal, and shortly after, with 51 seconds remaining, got the insurance goal from Jeff McIntyre, on a Turgeon pass.
Coach Tom Carpenter, whose team spent much of Games five and six — both Galt losses — in the penalty box, said “I felt that if we stuck to hockey, we would beat this team.”
Richmond Hill coach Rainer Weidenfelder concurred. “Galt decided to play four hockey games and won four hockey games. It’s as simple as that.”
One enthusiastic visitor to the Galt dressing room after their series victory was Roy Johnston, founder of the Galt Minor Hockey School. He congratulated the players, most of whom were among his first class of young skaters to graduate from the school in 1973-74.
“I’m as high as the kids are,” said Johnston. “The program is working.”