Tribute: Vance Millar, Stellar Hockey Player


    The Niagara sports community has lost another member

     Vance Millar, a well-known and talented hockey player, died August 5. He was no stranger in Niagara’s arenas back in the 1950s, the 60s and the 70s. He played three seasons (1955-56 to 1957-58) with the Stamford Kerrios of the Niagara District Senior B Hockey League. He also spent three seasons in Welland. Mr. Millar played for the Intermediate A teams when they were known as the Merchants in 1962-63 and again in 1973-74 seasons. He was also a member of the Welland Burloaks in 1963-64 when they were a Senior B entry.

    Mr. Millar was captain of the Merchants team in 1962-63 when they captured the John Ross Robertson Trophy, emblematic of the OHA Intermediate A championship. It marked the first ever OHA title won by a Welland team and nearly six decades later still remains the only Welland team to win an OHA championship.

    It was April 24, 1963 at the Welland Arena when the Merchants put the finishing touches to their first-ever championship disposing of the Bradford Expressmen 8-1 in game five of the provincial final. He had a large helping hand in clinching the victory by scoring twice.

  Mr. Millar would play on two more championship squads playing with the Galt Hornets of the Senior A ranks. In fact Galt not only won the provincial title twice (1968-69 and 1970-71) but added the Allan Cup each time making them Canadian champions. Mr. Millar was captain of the 1970-71 squad. With winning the Canadian title twice he and his teammates also got the opportunity to represent Canada at international tournaments.

  In all, he spent seven seasons with the Hornets. He also played one season (1966-67) with the Woodstock Athletics.

   Mr. Millar was a solid two-way player and gave 100 percent every time he stepped on the ice. As it said in his obituary, “Vance made friends everywhere he played, many of these were as strong in the end as they were the day he made them. His hockey family was vast and cherished.”

 To his family and friends, I express my condolences.

(Wayne Redshaw has covered sports in Niagara for over 50 years, 33 and a half at the Welland Tribune. He was publisher of the FORE! Golfers Only for 12 years and also wrote for many national newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States. He can be reached at

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