Cowboys Hockey


It's hard to say how some stories get started. The legend of the Old Boot is that kind of story. But I can tell you how it got started. I made it up. But that won't stop it from being told as true many years from now. My admission here will not bear the weight of ancient legend... as it is becoming. So I'll tell you a bit about the story as I know it. Others may tell it differently in the future, and their version may be more accurate than mine. It is the nature of this legend.

I first discovered the Old Boot in Hap May's cow barn. He had no idea how long it had been there and didn't even know who owned it. He figured it must have belonged to his farm hand, Mike Molema and also figured he shouldn't be leaving it lying around, so he gave it to me when I asked if I could have it. One man's junk is another man's treasure, and to me an old gray cowboy boot with a skate blade attached was a trophy to be revered.

You see, there was a challenge a foot (if you will pardon the pun). From time to time I liked to gather together the oldest member of the Cowboys Hockey Club and rustle up some of the retired players from the original 1979 team in order to challenge the newest members of the team in a hockey contest they would not forget. (Well, they might forget some of it, but others would remind them later.) This challenge needed a trophy, I felt. Bragging rights is the real reward, but it needed a iconic symbol, and a bit of folklore to allure.

The tale of Maurice May is just that kind of story.

If you search historical archives or family genealogy you will find no record of someone called Maurice May in East Richmond. His boot is the only evidence we have to substantiate the story of this legendary lost cowboy.

I have asked around about this mysterious old boot and as the story goes, the old boot was original discovered during a cranberry harvest in 1995.  It floated to the surface of a favourite pond-hockey site on a farm near No. 7 Road in Richmond, BC.  Remarkably preserved in the peat and manure, it was cleaned up and examined.  It is believed to have belonged to the legendary Maurice May, who disappeared after a late Monday night scrimmage on the reservoir.   Rumour has it that late at night, during the bitter weeks of winter, you can still hear him skate.

Much of this fiction is yet to be examined. I have done considerable research on this account and have traced the rumours as far north as the BC Cariboo, (see 2007 archives: "These Boots were Made for Skatin") where some say an apparation resembling this Maurice May was witnessed there. There have been countless sighting of this "ghost", around the cranberry rinks and in the arenas where the Old Boot game has been played. I will continue to gather information about this pheonomina to be released in a coming article.

- Doug Collins