Gordon Maurice Young
Born: March 28, 1928 (Regina, Saskatchewan)
Died: December 8, 2014 (Kelowna, British Columbia)
Moe Young was a goal-scoring left winger with the Kelowna Packers, leading the senior amateur team to a Western Canadian championship before losing the national Allan Cup title to the Belleville (Ont.) McFarlands in 1958.
While the McFarlands would go on to win the world championship in Czechoslovakia in March, 1959, the Packers were selected to represent Canada in a series of exhibition games to be played in the Soviet Union in November, 1958. They were the first Westerners to travel behind the Iron Curtain to play a hockey series, a precursor to the thrilling games of the Summit Series 14 years later.
Young and the Packers held their own in five games played in Moscow with two wins (against the junior national team and the Moscow Selects), two ties (against Wings and Dynamo) and a lone loss (the opening game, 4-3, to Red Army). Before the series, the Packers went 2-1 in three games against the Swedish national team.
Born in Regina, Young played four seasons of junior hockey in his hometown with the Abbotts and Pats before turning professional with the Tulsa Oilers of the United States Hockey League. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward scored 62 goals over three seasons.
He had his best pro season with the Tacoma Rockets in 1951-52, finishing second in goal scoring in the Pacific Coast Hockey League with 38. He also had 35 assists.
Young joined the Trail (B.C.) Smoke Eaters as a playing coach for the 1952-53 season. He scored nine goals in nine playoff games, though the Smoke Eaters lost the Western International Hockey League title to the first-place Spokane (Wash.) Flyers.
He rebounded the following season by scoring 43 goals in 50 games. The Maharajah, as the playing coach was teasingly nicknamed by the newspapers, was awarded the Howard Anderson Memorial Trophy as the league’s “most valuable and sportsmanlike” player.
Young joined the Packers of the Okanagan Senior Amateur Hockey League in 1955, proving to be a popular player with hometown crowds.
In 1957-58, the Packers won the Okanagan crown by defeating the Kamloops Chiefs in seven games before eliminating the Rossland Warriors in five games. The Western title and the Patten Cup came with the elimination of the Winnipeg Maroons in five games. The McFarlands traveled west to play the Allan Cup finals in Kelowna and Kamloops. The Packers had a 3-1 lead in games, but lost the series with an 8-5 loss in the seventh and deciding game.
A scratch golfer, Young captained the Saskatchewan team at the Willingdon Cup in 1951, which was won by Ontario. Two years later, Young was non-playing captain of B.C.’s Willingdon Cup team. Among his own golfing titles was a triumph in the Ogopogo Open at his home Kelowna Golf and Country Club.
His varied work career included a successful stint selling cars. For some years, he was local sales manager for CHBC, the television station in Kelowna, where he was also the sports director.
The surviving Packers reunited in 2008 on the 50th anniversary of their British Columbia senior championship. The team was the first to be inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame.