Royal Canadian Air Force Hockey Team. February 8th, 1948.
At the Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the hockey tournament is over and Canada has won again. Since 1920, the Canadians have failed to win gold only once, in 1936 and that was by fluke. This Canadian team is not like its predecessors, however, its members are, indeed, the pick of central Canada's amateur teams, but they are wearing the roundel of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and their manager is RCAF medical officer, the hockey-mad Squadron Leader Sandy Watson.
Selected from RCAF stations across Canada and coached by Ottawa Senators legend Georges "Buck" Boucher and his son, RCAF Sergeant Frank Boucher, the RCAF Flyers were so pathetic in their first exhibition games that S/L Watson conducts a whirlwind campaign to get the best amateur players he can find into baggy blue RCAF battledress. The Flyers final roster includes Andre Laperriere, a 22 year old defenseman from the University of Montreal, George Mara and Wally Halder, stars of the University of Toronto Varsity team, and five players from the New Edinburgh team in the Ottawa Senior League, including Frank Dunster (formerly of the Oshawa Junior Generals) and high scoring forwards Ab Renaud and Reg Schroeter. Not all the players are ringers. The squad includes Flight Lieutenant Hubie Brooks, one of only five RCAF members to receive the Military Cross. The last addition is bus driver Murray Dowey, the second best goal tender in Toronto-only Turk Broda is better.
On January 7th, 1948, the Flyers depart Ottawa by train for New York, where they catch the Queen Mary. They go third class, which is appropriate considering their pay scale, which is RCAF basic. As well as their RCAF sweaters, they have 300 hockey sticks and Tackaberry skates scrounged from CCM, the manufacturer.
In Europe, the RCAF Flyers play 42 games, of which they win 31, lose 5 and tie 6. The Olympic tournament comprises of eight games, in which the Flyers defeat Italy 21-1, Poland 15-0, Austria 12-0, the USA 12-3, Great Britain 3-0 and Sweden 3-1. The gold-medal game is a scoreless tie against Czechoslovakia.