Like many communities across Canada, the Town of Whitby has a rich history in the sport of hockey. There are many Whitby players who have gone on to play at the professional level including: Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Foote, Keith and Wayne Primeau, Paul Ranger, Dunc Wilson, Jamie Allison (all of whom have been inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame) and Jay Harrison.
Current NHL player James Neal is also from Whitby. With over 600 NHL games played so far in his career, Neal is off to a great start to the 2017-18 season with the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights serving as an alternate captain.
In addition to the professional players from Whitby, the Town has had enormous success at the team level. The Whitby Dunlops are the most famous team in Whitby history capturing the Allan Cup in 1957 and 1959 and the World Hockey Championship in 1958. The 1958 World Championship team is a member of both the Whitby and Ontario Sports Halls of Fame.
Another hockey team inducted in the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame is the 1945-46 Whitby Red Wings that won the Ontario Hockey Federation Junior C Championship. The Red Wings name came from Norman Irwin whose family owned Red Wing Orchards in Whitby and was the sponsor of the team. The Red Wings had some interesting family connections on the team. Head Coach Jack Lowe and two of his sons were part of the team. Bill was a player and his younger brother John was the stick boy. Jack’s other son Ross is also a member of the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame. Ross played minor hockey in Whitby and was part of the All-Ontario Juvenile Championship team in 1944. He moved on to play in the OHL with the Oshawa Generals and then had a successful professional career in the AHL and NHL with the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians. In his final year of professional hockey (1954- 55) Ross won the AHL MVP award playing for the Springfield Indians.
The Red Wings also had the McCloskey brothers Pat and Joe on the team. Originally, from Northern Ireland the boys moved to Ontario with their family to Kirkland Lake before settling in Whitby. Pat also played on the 1944 Championship Juvenile team alongside Ross Lowe. Doug Williams was a member of both the Red Wings and the Dunlops Championship teams.
Behind every strong hockey program, there are coaches and volunteers who dedicate their time to develop young players. Whitby has had countless community members who have been involved in the game of hockey over the years and is one of the major reasons why our town has had so much success over the years. Jack Goddard, Gordon Hawes, Clifford Johnson, David Branch, and Mike Primeau are all members of the Hall of Fame in the Builder category.
Combined, these five individuals contributed over 100 years of volunteer service in both coaching and serving on the Whitby Minor Hockey Executive.
Their hard work and dedication to hockey, along with all of the other coaches and volunteers over the years, have helped to build the strong hockey tradition in the Town of Whitby.