Olympians

Brian Conacher

From: Toronto, Ontario

Attended Western:

  • 1962-67

Stats (results):

  • 1964 - Innsbruck

Career Highlights:

  • Five seasons in the NHL
  • 1967 Stanley Cup winner with the Toronto Maple Leafs

Born in Toronto in 1941, Brian Conacher was part of an accomplished athletic family.  His father, Lionel, played in the National Hockey League and was a two-time Stanley Cup winner in 1934 and 1935.  His uncles, Charlie and Roy, were also successful hockey players and Stanley Cup winners themselves.  All three brothers have been inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.

Brian played hockey from a young age, including four seasons with the Toronto Marlboros, a junior team in the Ontario Hockey Association.  However, when he first arrived on the scene at Western in 1962, he quickly gained attention as a talented halfback for the football team.  At 6'2", his speed was both a surprise and welcomed asset to the Mustangs. Conacher's studies were interrupted in 1964, when he was asked to play with Canada's national hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. 

Brian Conacher, 1963

Brian Conacher was a Mustang All-Star for football in 1961. Courtesy of UWO Student Council.

 

Once the games were underway, Canada skillfully defeated the first five of their seven opponents.  Conacher contributed greatly to the goal count, especially in the game against the United States to secure an 8-6 win.  However, they were faced with some bad luck in their game against Czechoslovakia when their most important asset, goalie Seth Martin, was injured in the third period.  Canada lost their 1-0 lead and the game. 

Their last chance to win a gold medal depended on their final game against powerhouse Russia.  Despite their discouraging loss against Czechoslovakia, the Canadians kept a close game with the Russians and the score was tied at the end of the second period.  Unfortunately, they were outplayed by the Russians in the third period and lost the game 3-2.

The Canadian team ended up in a three way tie for the silver medal with Czechoslovakia and Sweden.  However, before the medal ceremony, the rules for a tie were changed so that medal placement was based on goals scored and not points earned.  Within minutes, Canada went from a silver medal to fourth place.

After the Olympics, Conacher played in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, helping the team win their thirteenth Stanley Cup in 1967. In 1968, his playing rights were acquired by the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he finished his last NHL season in 1971-72.

Conacher has coached and managed teams at all levels, authored two books on hockey and provided commentary for the 1972 Summit Series.

Brian Conacher and 1965 Varsity Hockey Team

Brian Conacher (middle, second from right) and the 1965 Varsity Hockey Team. Courtesy of UWO Student Council.