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Date Published:  May 24, 2015

Toe Blake TrophyA twelve game schedule was all that would be contested as seven midget hockey teams competed in the inaugural year of the Sudbury Minor Hockey Association. Back in 1945, Sam Yuska of the Lions and Bruce Hutchison of the Kinsmen shared the “Toe Blake Trophy”, a few years before the retirement of the Coniston native from his playing days with the Montreal Canadians, and a decade before he began to establish himself as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.

Yuska tallied 16 goals and one assist, while Hutchison racked up 15 and two helpers, with both finishing one point ahead of Butch O’Hagen of the City Police. The Blake Trophy would be adjusted, slightly, awarded in the future to the Most Valuable Player in the Midget section of the SMHA.

Wilf Kallio captured the honours during the 1949-1950 season, with the trophy set aside for six years. It re-emerged in 1956-57, presented to Dom Fragomeni of Whiteheads. Gary Croteau (1961-62) followed up his award winning SMHA season with three years at St Lawrence University, before suiting up for 684 NHL games as a member of the California Golden Seals, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.

1959-60 recipient Bob Leduc (1959-60) did rack up more than 150 games in the WHA (World Hockey Association), Mario Cerri (1977-78) enjoyed a solid OHL career with the Ottawa 67’s, and more recently, slick-skating forward Vern Cooper was a three-time winner before netting more than 90 goals during his junior hockey days with the Plymouth Whalers and Soo Greyhounds.

It would appear that the only father & son tandem to capture the award were Rick Pasanen (1965-66) and Glen Pasanen (1987-88). Beginning in 1996-97, the award was expanded to include the MVP from each of the midget teams that were fielded under the SMHA banner.

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