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Barry Veerbeski Biography

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Last time in this space, I talked with Barry Verbeski, a member of the 1964-65 Glace Bay Junior Miners of the Cape Breton Junior Hockey League. His team had rallied from a 4-1 deficit in games to tie the Sydney Cape Breton Post Bombers in the league championship series only to suffer a heartbreaking loss in the ninth and deciding contest -- a match Verbeski thinks could have gone either way. Glace Bay’s coach that season was the late Leo Amadio, a Cape Breton hockey icon to be sure. “He was a tremendous coach,” said Verbeski. “He was knowledgeable, was an outstanding communicator, was tough, and he was a character builder.” Born 81 years ago this past February 2 in the tiny community of Donkin, Amadio grew up playing the game on the local ponds and developed into a star defenceman with the Donkin Midgets.…show more content…
During Amadio’s final season of junior in 1954-55, the Rangers sold the Frontenacs to the then powerhouse Montreal Canadiens, thus Leo became property of the talent-rich Habs. As was the case for numerous excellent players in the Montreal organization at that time, Amadio got lost in the shuffle. In 1961, following a six-year minor-pro career, Amadio returned to Nova Scotia and for two seasons was player/coach of the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League’s New Glasgow Rangers. Fittingly, he ended his playing days with the Glace Bay Senior Miners. Amadio began coaching the Junior Miners in 1964-65. Needless to say, he was a perfect fit for the young Glace Bay squad. “Not to take anything away from the previous coaches we had while coming up through the school system,” said Verbeski, “but oftentimes you might get a principal or a teacher coaching your team who were just gate openers. All it was in practice was loops of the ice surface or stops and starts from board to board, then you’d play a little scrimmage and go
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