A little Smoke Eaters’ history from the Kamloops Kidney Christmas Luncheon . . .

The annual Christmas luncheon that is prepared by volunteers from the Kamloops Chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada always is a lot of fun. That is, of course, because of the people you meet there.

Take Sunday at the Heritage House, for example.

I was presented with the opportunity to chat with Barb Haight-Smith and her husband, Ed Smith. Well, to be honest, Barb did most of the talking, and what a story she told. Her father, Jimmy Haight, played for one of the most-famous Canadian hockey teams of all time — the 1938-39 Trail Smoke Eaters.

Born in Humboldt, Sask., Jimmy came out of the Saskatoon junior ranks to join the Nelson Maple Leafs. Rather than turn pro, he then moved over to Trail after Cominco put him to work, which also allowed him to play for the 1937-38  Smoke Eaters, who won the Savage Cup as B.C. champions, the Paton Cup as Western Canadian kings, and the Allan Cup as Canadian champs.

In 1938-39, the Smoke Eaters took the hockey world by storm as the won the World championship. They arrived in Europe in early December and spent a couple of months touring. Before they were done over there, they played 55 games, winning 53 times, losing once and recording one tie.

The 10-day World championship was played in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland. The Smokies opened by beating the Netherlands, 8-0, and Poland, 4-0. In the second round, they took out Britain, 4-0, and Germany, 9-0. Then they dumped Switzerland, 7-0, before more than 16,000 fans. Trail wrapped up the title with a 4-1 victory over Czechoslovakia and a 4-0 blanking of the United States.

In his final years, Barb and Ed cared for her father in Kamloops, where he died on April 15, 2009. Jimmy Haight, a World champion, was 95.

What follows are more photos from the luncheon at the Heritage House, all of them from the camera of Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography.

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Dennis Purcha stopped by for a pre-Christmas visit with Lucy Ross.
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No, Rick Oviatt didn’t come dressed up as Santa Claus, but he looks to be halfway there with the beard. The smile tells you that he was enjoying himself, as we all were.
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Rita and Ron Wright got in a quick snuggle just before getting called to the buffet table.
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Tammy La Forge and Randy McDuffee were quick to smile for the camera. Yes, they had a grand time.
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Heather Moore (left), Lynne Moyer, Samhita and Sushma Kaluvakoluna, and Barb Haight-Smith and Ed Smith were among those in attendance. Barb’s father, Jimmy, played for the Trail Smoke Eaters, who won the 1939 World hockey championship. He also was part of the 1938 Allan Cup winning team.
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Samhita Kaluvakoluna had a warm welcoming hug for Santa Claus while her mother, Sushma, grabbed a photo.
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Santa made sure to stop off and visit with Heather Moore and Lynne Moyer.