The Trail Smoke Eaters have a long standing history not only in the City of Trail, but in Junior and International hockey. With that history comes a long list of alumni who have gone on to play college hockey, play or work in the NHL or follow another passion in life once their Smoke Eater career comes to end. This month, the Smoke Eaters are highlighting Alumni Dave Greenhalgh who played for the Smoke Eaters from 1996-1999.
Q: Where has life taken you since you finished playing hockey and did your college education play a role in where you are now?
A: “I left Trail halfway through my 20 year old year and went on to play 3 years in the ACAC with Grant MacEwan College and finishing off at NAIT. I then after a cup of coffee with the UofA Bears I went on to play 5 years in the CHL Senior AAA league with the Fort Hotel Chiefs where I attended 2 Allen Cups. During that time I graduated from UofA with a B. Ed and worked as a Hockey Director & Teacher at the Donnan, Vimy Ridge Hockey Academy where I was able to hire Tim Fragle to be my Assistant so I take full credit for his Coaching success- total lie he was well on his way with or without me- Very happy for Tim, his family and the organization that he is going back there to lead the team. I taught for 5 years and then moved onto a career in Sales and over the past 3+ years Sales Leadership.
Currently, I am a Senior Manager of Sales for Eastern Canada for Honeywell Process Solutions and manage a sales organization from Manitoba to NFLD. I would say I learned a lot of life skills and leadership skills through my time in Trail along with my college education. Learning to deal with adversity, work with different types of people and how to care for people in the right way.”
Greenhalgh, originally from Edmonton, Alberta, came to the Smoke Eaters as an 18-year-old right when the team moved to the BCHL from the KIJHL and began two strong years in the mid 90’s. In his rookie year (96-97) Greenhalgh put up 27 goals and 27 assists for a 54 point season through 56 games. The team finished 39-20-1 that year and would make it the the semifinals against the Vipers.
Q: When you look back at your Smoke Eaters career what moment would you highlight or be your best memories?
A: I have many very fond memories of my 2 and half years- some I can talk about and some are left between the fellas. From a team standpoint- winning our first round against Penticton in front of a huge crowd at Comino Arena was unreal. A personal highlight on-ice- was a hat trick game at home against Vernon where my billets Jim and Barb Herman made me a very special hat trick hockey stick gift. Off-ice- we used to go to the various schools and play floor hockey and read to the kids- this was my first taste at being a role model and was a great time with the kids. Big Party- A different speed was a team Christmas party my first year ( 1996) just before we all went home after our last game where we dominated our arch rival Vernon Vipers 7-2. It was the most happy and excited about a team I have ever been. Was a great night! Day to Day stuff was talked with my billets Jim & Barb Herman then with The Danny Santori family, hanging out with the boys at the Kuchers house and no doubt lunches at the Colander
Q: If you could pass on some advice to today’s group of Smoke Eaters what would it be. What is something you wish you had known when you were playing?
A: “One thing I would stress is to enjoy the time- it is important to put in the work, play hard, work hard but don’t get ahead of yourself ( over think about what’s next), take it too seriously where you don’t enjoy it. It is a great time in your life- some might say the best time and not enjoying every moment is a mistake. The old saying “ Don’t get to high, don’t get to low” is so key to that time of life.
Treat everyone no matter who they are as the most important person- if I have regrets it was that I was so in my own head and living emotionally off every win or loss or good personal game/poor game that I stole my own joy and that reflected on my attitude and approach to people. I have learned overtime that you cannot control what you can’t control. Be happy, be intentional, be kind and work your ass off and things work out.
Be selfless, be a great team guy- if I could do it all over again I would take even more cross checks to the face going to the net, would of answered the bell way more times when confronted to scrap, would of managed my emotions better and stayed positive to keep the boys up and help the environment and culture stay positive. Hockey is important and that is your job but not more important that the people.”
After three years in Trail, with 200 games played and 125 regular season points under his belt, Greenhalgh took the next step of every young BCHLer and headed off to college. Specifically the ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) to play at Grant MacEwan College. He played there for two years averaging just over a point a game. In his third year he transferred to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) where we was reunited with his former teammate (and now Smoke Eaters Head Coach) Tim Fragle.
Q: What do you remember about your time in Trail?
A: “I remember it as nothing but great- I have nothing but pride that I was able to wear the jersey ~200 times. I love the town and came back every summer in those days to go to Christina lake and had a blast. I met numerous special people in my time in Trail-Hermans, Santori families, Glen Saunders, Mike Mondin and teammates I don’t speak to as much these days but have way to many great experiences with. Travis Roche, Mark Stone, Steve McCarthy, the Stanton brothers, Massimo Provenzano, Corey Bell, Andy Oakes my first year – the older boys definitely took care of a big mouth kid. My second year- Craig Clare, Tim Fragle, Wade Patterson, Justin VanParys, Aaron Moser and so many more great dudes.
Bus trips, house parties, shootouts and hatchbacks- great times!”
Q: How did you become a Smoke Eater?
A: “I became a Smoke Eater by being a part of an Alberta recruiting class of Chris Bonvie, Travis Roche and myself. We had a new coach Calvin MacKay who had coached me in Major Bantam so I have some familiarity with him. Chris and Travis were legit studs and I had found myself to have a good Midget AAA year in Edmonton and was along for the ride. We came down on a recruiting trip where then Asst Coach Denis McKinnon drove Travis and I down from Edmonton for the Silver City days. We toured around what was then the old barn and we thought that was cool ( nothing like today). I had always wanted to play in BCHL and this was my chance- very happy with the decision.”
Q: Final Thoughts?
A: “A huge shout out to new owners for putting some capital down to provide a great product for the great people of Trail. Very honored to be asked to do this piece and once a Smokie always a Smokie! All the best in this upcoming year and know the city will be behind Clarsey and Frags and they work to bring a title to town. All the best to all those who supported me during my time in your great town!”