Mariners Win the Herder

Updated: January 22, 2014
Port Aux Basques Mariners | Newfoundland Hockey Talk

As if facing Dave Matt in one series wasn’t enough, the Port Aux Basques Mariners had to do it twice in their quest to win the 1989 Herder Memorial Championship.

After defeating the goalie Dave Matte and the Corner Brook Royals in the 1989 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League semi-finals, the Port Aux Basques Mariners found them in the Herder Memorial championship facing the St. John’s Capitals. Matte was deemed the best goalie in the league at the time and had carried the Royals to an Allan Cup victory. He was argueably the best amature goalie in Canada at the time.

The Newfoundland Senior Hockey League was riddled with loopholes and by-laws that made little sense. Unlimited import players were allowed to be utilized by teams, there were no rules on salaries and nothing to stop what was about to happen to the Port Aux Basque team.

The St. John’s Capitals goaltender fell victim to injury and this allowed the St. John’s team to call on any goalie they wanted to fill in for their injured player. That call went to Dave Matte of the Corner Brook Royals.

Despite protests, it was obvious that there was nothing going to be done to prevent Matte from playing for the St. John’s Capitals. Some of the Mariners players were content as they had beaten the Royals and felt they could fair equally as well against the Capitals.

With the championship on the line and the Mariners up 3-2 in the series, the score was tied at 1-1. With the puck coming back to the Mariners’ Juan Strickland, he fired a shot at the net that first hit one post, then hit the second post before Dave Matte jumped on the puck as it lay behind him.

The hometown fans went crazy thinking that the Mariners had won the Herder but the St. John’s Capitals bench erupted in protest. After what seemed like an eternity of deliberation, it was ruled a goal and the Port Aux Basques Mariners hung on to take the Herder Memorial Trophy by a score of 2-1, winning the series 4-2 on home ice.

Strickland’s shot was nicknamed “The Goal that Shook the Southwest Coast” and it rings out loudly as one of most historic moments in Newfoundland Senior Hockey history.

That date was April 3, 1989 and despite going on to win the Hardy Cup, which was deemed as the Stanly Cup of senior men’s hockey in Canada, the Mariners folded before the next season.

The Port Aux Basques Mariners win of the Herder sparked a party that has tales being told of Juan Strickland and teammate Todd Savory carting the trophy around in the back of a pickup truck. Apparently, the damage done to the trophy was minor but the celebrations that evening were monumental.

With their only win of the Herder Memorial Trophy, the Port Aux Basques Mariners have cemented themselves in Newfoundland Senior Hockey.

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