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The Los Angeles Ramblers played one season (1946-47) in the Western International Hockey League.
Back in 1946-47, a group of Los Angeles businessmen came up with the bright idea of entering a team in the WIHL. After operating the team for one year and losing well over $100,000 they threw in the towel. The cards were stacked against the Los Angeles group, for they had to guarantee teams from Kimberley, Nelson, Trail and Spokane all expenses to sunny California, with each club making four trips and playing a doubleheader. During the week the Los Angeles Ramblers would fly up to the Kootenay for return games.
It was a big gamble for the Los Angeles group to undertake, for Los Angeles had a second team with Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Many thought the calibre of hockey in the WIHL was far more superior than in the other league, but they forgot that Kimberley, Nelson and Trail were only small spots on the map, and the tuxedo crowd didn't appreciate a good brand of hockey.
To add colour to the league, the Los Angeles Ramblers' executitive came up with the George Montgomery-Dinah Shore Cup, a beautiful trophy donated by the film-famed pair from Hollywood. The trophy went to the league champions, with the Kimberley Dynamiters the first team to have their name carved on the cup. It was very doubtful if the Kimberley Dynamiters had an outside chance to win the WIHL title in 1946-47--for Kimberley was the only city in the league with natural ice, and never had a home game until December 10th, and by that time they were buried deep in the WIHL basement.
The Dynamiters' coach, Ralph Redding, had real problems that fall, for the East Kootenays were enjoying an exceptionally mild fall, and the Dynamiters were depending on nearby frozen lakes and sloughs, to hold their practices. With no ice, and the hockey season soon to open, the Dynamiters were forced to set up camp in Nelson for one week, and it turned out to be a costly project. The Dynamiters were forced to play their first six games away from home, and only managed one win, before ice was available in Kimberley.
It was a hard climb for the Dynamiters--from deep in the WIHL basement suite to the penthouse--and it climaxed one of the greatest comebacks in the annals of the Kootenay League. If anyone anyone made the statement on December 31st that the Dynamiters would win the WIHL championship--they would be considered insane. The Dynamiters won the league championship in the final weekend of play, and in order to do so, had to defeat the Los Angeles Ramblers twice, in a doubleheader played in Kimberley. The Ramblers had led the league right from the start of the season, and needed only one tie in Kimberley to be declared champions.
Coach Ralph Redding had a surprise waiting for the Ramblers, with the Dynamiters closing the gap with a close 6-4 win in the first game. The Dynamiters left little doubt who was the best team, by lacing the Ramblers 14-1 in the final game of the regular season--with Jack Forsey collecting four goals. Benny Redisky scored the hat trick in that game, with Gordie Wilson gathering six assists. The Dynamiters started to jell after the new year, and finished the season with 18 straight home victories; and despite their disastrous start only lost 12 games the entire season, while winning 24.
The league played an unbalanced schedule, with the Dynamiters playing 36 games, the same as Nelson and Trail. Los Angeles participated in 32 games, with Spokane performing in 40 matches. The Kimberley Dynamiters finished with a .667 winning percentage; Los Angeles .657 percent; Trail .514 percent; Nelson .458 percent; and the Spokane Spartans .250 percent. The Spartans managed only ten wins, while losing 30 games.
Coach Kenny Stewart, a native of Lethbridge, Alberta (and a former Lethbridge Maple Leaf-Charlie), was the playing-coach of the Ramblers, and he moulded together a big, rough team; with plenty of experience. Vern Kneeshaw was their number one goalie, with Fred Holger doubling as spare netminder and general mangaer. Mayer Flett, Lou Labovich, Jack Lambrecht and Harvey Barnes formed the Ramblers' defence. Up front they had Joe Levine, Benny Hayes, Max Labovich, Kenny Stewart, Jack Miller, Hassie Young, Terry Cavanaugh and Jim Fleming. Eric Bishop announced the Ramblers games (on radio), both at home and away.