JAY BOGDON: Once a Culliton

JAY BOGDON, Stratford Cullitons #
1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990

Playing games in 5 different seasons for the Stratford Cullitons accumulated far too many memories to list. They will last for the rest of my life. Not just suiting up with some amazing successful talent, but creating some of the greatest friendships, which in turn created weeks upon weeks of great times. the second half of the 80’s was bar none, the most exhilarating time of my life! Playing with guys like Blake, Smolinski, Rem and Pat Murray, Heaphy, Debrusk, Tim Taylor, John Uniac, Joe Cleary, Garth Snow. Those were some great talents on the ice who garnered much success. Those years I would be hard pressed to pick out someone who wasn’t of great talent in some way or another. The atmosphere in that Allman Arena on Friday nights, year after year after year with winning teams? Man, you just had to love the fans. True Die Hards! The whole experience put a spell on me. I couldn’t focus on anything in life but that Allman arena on Friday night. My first Culliton hero was Ken Chisolm 1979. And then a few years later Rick Kelly 1982. And by the time I was suiting up in 1986, I witnessed things that Shawn Heaphy, Brian Smolinski and Joe Cleary did on the ice that I can’t ever explain. They were phenomenal players.

Louie Debrusk was by far the toughest I had ever skated with. When I played on the opposite wing with him, I instantly grew 6 inches taller. I had no fear of going into the corner with Louie on my line. One of my fondest memories will always be the Mike Mcleod goal in double OT of the 1990 Sutherland Cup semis. It was a jammed packed Allman arena for game 7, of what felt like 2 weeks at war vs Chatham Mic Macs. We went on to defeat St. Catherines Falcons 4 straight to win the Suthy. It was a special team comprised mostly of local talent with a lot of heart and toughness.

My other fondest memory was Kieth Culliton (major sponsor) who hired me as an HVAC apprentice when my hockey was all done, and who is ultimately responsible for where I am proud to work today at the Stratford General Hospital. I truly have the late Denny and Joan Flanagan and their son Dennis to thank for it all! Tommy Nigro, Sid Creek, the “General” MaCarthur, Don Wilson, George Vanslyke, Dave Parsons, Timmer Bell, Doug Hughes, Ross Yantzi. Too many great influential people to name. The dozens of players I met through those years have all impacted my life and the hundreds of fans and local supporters are still impacting my life today.

 “Hey, I know you! You played for the Stratford Cullitons!”

Those words will always put up my biggest smile every time!