Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Sunless City

This is the statue that commemorates the founding of Flin Flon, Manitoba. Flin Flon is a border town lying on the western edge of Manitoba and eastern edge of Saskatchewan about midway between the northern and southern borders of the provinces. Its main industry is mining with copper and zinc as the main ores being mined in the tunnels outside the town, but it would seem that more people likely know about Flin Flon due to their long hockey history thanks to the Flin Flon Bombers. You may have heard of Flin Flon in passing thanks to the likes of Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, and Cam Connor who was on The Hockey Show recently, but Flin Flon Bombers games are legitimately the big thing to do in the winter when temperatures plunge in the Manitoba city.

Named after Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin, the protagonist in the J.E. Preston Maddock novel The Sunless City, Flin Flon was founded in 1927 after prospectors discovered huge deposits of ore in the area. Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting - now called HudBay - brought people into the area by the thousands once the operation found its money through New Yorker Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. Once the mine was setup, there wasn't much else to do around the area when it came to recreation, and that led the miners to setup hockey teams and curling teams to keep themselves occupied.

Out of that, the Flin Flon Bombers were born, leading to great history in the community and across western Canada as the team played in the Western Junior Hockey League, the Senior Saskatchewan Hockey League, the North Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and the Western Hockey League that we know today. Currently, the Bombers play in the SJHL based on their proximity to teams in Saskatchewan.

So why am I telling you all this?

I was venturing down some rabbit holes when I came across a documentary that I had never seen before in Flin Flon: A Hockey Town directed by Dustin Cohen, produced by Jennifer Sharpe, and released through Gravitas Ventures in March 2018. Seeing the story of the Bombers told on my TV at home was rather captivating in that I recognized some of the places they were talking about thanks to my experiences talking with Reggie Leach and Cam Connor. Knowing that guys like Kim Clackson, Blaine Stoughton, and Ken Baumgartner also played there and are often forgotten in the conversation when names like Clarke and Leach are mentioned, you get a sense pretty quickly of just how important hockey is in this community and how important the Bombers are to this community.

Here's the trailer for the film in case you wanted to see more.

Having teased you with that trailer for the film, you're probably asking where you can watch the documentary in its entirety. Well, I am required to tell you that you can rent or buy the film through YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services, but that's not why I'm here today. If you're like me and just wanting to watch the film once, you're likely looking for a better option.

In true Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible fashion, I'd like to help you, but I can't. I'd like to tell to you that you can find a copy of this movie on the internet. But I can't. I also advise you to NOT click the link currently shown here. I wouldn't expect you to watch the film on the matter in question from start to finish. I'd like to help, but there's nothing I can do. I know you're upset - pretend you're upset.

If you do get a chance to watch the film, I suspect you'll learn a few things about the town and the number of references I made at the top of this article. The history of the Flin Flon Bombers and how the city has turned them into the greatest show on Flin Flon earth was pretty interesting to me, and I hope you'll find it interesting too.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: