Blades Established in 1965
The Blades, who were originally known as the Golden Blades when they were formed and coached by Dave Baldwin in 1965.
In the 1965-66 season the Blades played an exhibition schedule before entering the Ontario Hockey Association Junior ‘D’ playoffs where they advanced to the provincial final and lost in seven games to Bobcageon.
Over the years some teams have been good and others not so good, but the dozens of coaches, assistant coaches and executive members have always worked hard to make sure the players have been given the training and tools to be successful both on and off the ice.
Four players who have suited up for the Blades (current assistant coach Todd Warriner, Ryan Jones, Matt Martin and Bob Gryp) managed to make it to their ultimate hockey goal – the NHL.
The Blades had a good run in the 1970s with Essex 73s and Leamington Flyers being their chief rivals in two epic league final series. In both cases the Blades lost in seven games but drew huge crowds at home and on the road.
The 1980s were not kind to the Blades as the team struggled both on the ice and financially until a local group stepped forward and saved the day with an influx of money.
The 1990s saw the Blades in the Great Lakes League’s North Division which brought about the now famous 1994-95 season eight-game division title series with Clearwater.
The reason an eighth game was played in that series was the fact that Clearwater used an illegal player in one of the contests. The eighth game was played before an over-flow crowd at the Blenheim arena with the Blades winning.
After the win the Blades made their third trip to a Great Lakes final, losing in four games to the powerful Belle River Canadiens.
Current head coach Bob McNear was a member of that team, and general manager Wayne Cowell was and assistant coach for head coach Dave Torrie who is now a scout with the NHL Buffalo Sabres.
Three seasons ago large crowds returned to the Blenheim arena to watch the Blades and Dresden Kings battle it out in an exciting six-game series won by the Kings, while last year it was another exciting series with Wallaceburg Lakers as the opposition. The Lakers won in five games. Four of those 11 games went to overtime.
Win or lose Blenheim has always had that network of dedicated executive members made up of former players and volunteers who share a vision to keep junior hockey alive – a process that is approaching $100,000 in ice time and other costs per year.
Because of a tremendous fan support and our more than generous sponsors, the team has flourished and continues to give young players a place to compete once their minor hockey careers are over.