I enjoy going to the River Lion’s basketball games and think it is great that we have a team in St. Catharines. I heard that there used to be a pretty successful men’s team called the Hell Cats. Is this true, and if so, can you tell me more about them or do you have any pictures of the team?
Thanks for your question. Indeed there was a local basketball team called the Hell Cats, the Hayes Hell Cats to be exact, sponsored by Hayes Steel of Merritton. They were a men’s senior basketball team.
Casper Mooradian managed the Hayes Hell Cats Senior Basketball Team from 1943-1946.
They played in Vancouver, British Columbia to compete for the Canadian Men’s Senior Basketball Championship which they won two years in a row in 1944 and 1945. The team itself was made up of mostly of former American College Basketball players. There were however two players from St. Catharines; Jack Anthony and Jack Bolster.
Angie Pastore was the starting Guard for the Hayes Hell Cats team that won senior titles in 1944 and 1945. Pastore went on to coach the Hayes Hell Kittens, a local junior basketball team. He led the Hell Kittens to win the national juvenile title in 1945. He was inducted into the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
One of the team’s star players, Salvatore Anthony Maglie of Niagara Falls, New York (1917-1992) played for the Hayes Hell Cats. He had been banned from playing professional baseball in the United States because he had spent two years playing for a Mexican League. When the rules changed, Maglie went on to be a pitcher in Major League Baseball, playing for the New York Yankees, Giants and Dodgers.
The exact dates of when the team began and ended is unclear, however, around 1950 the team name changed to the St. Catharines Hell Cats. They were the Canadian-American League leaders in January 1950.
Note to readers: This is the second last post for the Ask Alicia blog series. Thank you to everyone who asked questions and participated in these discussions about local history and to all faithful readers. I invite everyone to continue visiting our blog as many new and interesting bits of information will continue to be posted. The final Ask Alicia post will be Friday, January 27th, 2017. Thank you again and happy history hunting!
Alicia Floyd is the archival collections technician at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.