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Lasting tribute for Father Les

As promised, a lasting tribute to Father Les Costello will be installed at the McIntyre Community Centre in time for the return of the Flying Fathers game this Saturday.


Richa Bhosale – The Daily Press
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It will be a display in the main part of the arena, just outside the auditorium.

The items on display include a Flying Fathers sweater, game-worn gloves, and various photos dating back to Costello’s days playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and medals that were awarded to him during his playing career.

There is also a statue depicting Costello as a player.

Wayne Bozzer, chairman of the Timmins Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, said, “It will be right up in the main part of the arena behind the rows of seats, so you could see it on your way up to the auditorium from the rink side.”

When of the items were previously on display in the Father Les Costello Memorial Arena in Cobalt. But when that arena closed, Costello’s family took possession of the items and donated them towards the new display at the McIntyre.

Timmins Museum curator Karen Bachmann, who has experience putting together displays of historic artifacts, was asked by Wayne Bozzer, chairman of the Timmins Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, if she could use the items to create an exhibit in honour of Father Les.

On Wednesday, Bachmann was busy at the arena, doing just that.

The Flying Fathers will be playing a charity hockey game facing off against members of the South Porcupine Fire Department at the McIntyre Arena this Saturday. The puck drops at 8 p.m.

The evening is being called “Return of the Flying Fathers: A Tribute to Father Les Costello.”

It is a fitting honour to the man who co-founded the Flying Fathers in 1963 as a means of enabling capable priests of playing a game they love while raising money for charity.

Costello was a colourful character who played two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before announcing in 1950 he was quitting professional hockey to enter the priesthood. He was ordained in 1957 and took a parish in his home community of Timmins where he served until his death.

Costello died after being seriously injured while skating for the Flying Fathers at a game in Kincardine in 2002. Costello was struck by a puck and fell backwards, hitting his head on the ice. He was admitted to hospital the following day where he slipped into a coma and died a week later on Dec. 10.

Following Costello’s death and the retirement of many of the priests who had played for The Flying Fathers for years, the team disbanded in 2008.

It has only been in the last two years, the team been resurrected with new members.

Tickets for the game between the Flying Fathers and members of the South Porcupine Fire Department are $10 for adults, $7 for youths seven to 18, and $5 for children up to six years of age. They are available at the Timmins Museum, CORE Business Solutions, NAPA South End Auto Parts, Kia of Timmins and Wicked Stuff.

They can also be purchased online on the Timmins Rock website at timminsrock.com.