Aerovox Junior B Club won league championship in 1948
The Hamilton Aerovox Junior B club was a finalist in 1947, and won the Sutherland Cup in 1948
While the Hamilton Tigers Senior A club garnered most of the press attention in the mid and late 1940s in the city, there was another team that provided fans with championship hopes.
During the late 1940s, the Aerovox Hockey Club was Hamilton’s only Junior B team, and during this era were a solid club which vied for the OHA’s top prize.
Aerovox Coach Pinky Lewis confers with players Andy Garbas, Red Loader, and Eddie Busch before a game in 1947. Courtesy of the Hamilton Spectator.
Sponsored by one of Hamilton’s most noted industrial concerns, Aerovox, which produced electrical components, the team was comprised of up-and-coming former players from the city’s bantam, juvenile, and midget leagues.
The team, which had compiled a 10-1-1 record in 1947, was a finalist for the Sutherland Cup, losing three games to two to the De La Salle Oaklands, but the Aerovox team won the Cup in 1948 over the Saint Michael’s College Buzzers.
The team was coached by long-time Hamilton sports personality Norman “Pinky” Lewis (see insert), known more for his skills in the football world. Some members of the team at this time, such as Steve Kraftcheck and Glen Sonmor, would go on to careers in the NHL.
The Sutherland Cup was named after James T. Sutherland, the Ontario Hockey Association president in 1915, and a man who devoted his life to amateur hockey until his death in 1955.
Several Hamilton-based Junior B teams other that the Aerovox club went to the finals of the Sutherland Cup since its inception in 1934. The Junior Tigers were finalists in 1942 but lost to Stratford. After the Aerovox era of the late 1940s, the Hamilton Mountain Bees were finalists for the Cup in 1971 but lost to the Dixie Beehives, and the Hamilton Red Wings won over the Bramalea Blues in 1974.
Norman ‘Pinky’ Lewis was one of Hamilton’s most noted sports figures, spent many years as trainer of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and McMaster Marauders football teams as well as coach of local Junior B hockey teams. Courtesy of the Hamilton Spectator.
One of Hamilton’s best-known sports personalities, Pinky Lewis, began as a mascot with the Hamilton Alerts football team before World War I, and for the next several decades was a trainer, coach, player, and manager of many sports in the city at several levels.
Along with his time as a trainer with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and McMaster University Marauders, Lewis was, for a short time, involved with Junior hockey in the city, coaching the Aerovox team in the late 1940s. He was also coach of the Stratford Kroehlers starting in 1949 while continuing to work with the Aerovox team along with his on-going work with the Tiger-Cats football club.
Lewis was also the Canadian team trainer in the 1970 World Amateur Basketball Championships in Yugoslavia, and was named Hamilton’s Citizen of the Year, also in 1970. This was one of many accolades the Hamilton-born Lewis received for his work in the sporting world.