Andy and Jennie Chakowski - Retired Coal Miner

I was on the same line as Steve Jerwa. I was only sixteen years old. I played left wing and he centre ice man. We won the Alberta Championship that year.

I was born in Prospect where the lots alone are worth $250,000. There was a row house just along the river and we were second from the end.

Yeah, my father was a coal miner for close to fifty years. He retired in 1965. He was Ukrainian and got married in Edmonton and came to Canmore in 1918. I was born in 1920.

My first job was when I was seventeen years old and I worked in the sawmill with Andy Bodnar. I stayed in the mill a year and a half then went into the mine because they were paying more money in the mine.

I was a rope rider, a motorman and I helped with track laying.You see, I'd go away to play hockey then I would come back and get another job in the mine. I didn't have any special privileges because I was a hockey player. Hockey was all we had to do as young kids in Canmore on the rivers and lakes.

I worked underground on and off for about twelve years then on surface I drove truck and did some switching for the railway. I probably had twenty years with the mine. I have two boys that also worked at the mine. I joined the army in 1940 and played hockey for Currie Army. During the war, they needed me in the mine so they got me out of the army and put me back in the mine.

After the war, I was signed by a scout to go to a training camp for Chicago. I ended up playing for Chicago's farm team in Kansas City. We won the championship in 1945-46. There were only six teams in the NHL then and each team had a farm team. I played against Gordie Howe while he was with Omaha.

Jennie: Gosh, my grandfather, my father, my uncles, my sons and my husband were all coal miners.