Women’s hockey was thriving in eastern Canada during the latter years of the First World War The pick of the local teams in Ottawa, in the winter of 1917? The Alerts, featuring captain Edith Anderson and the Quinney sisters, Dorothy and Hazel, along with (this was the seven-a-side game, then) 25-year-old Eva Ault (above) at rover.
That February, the Alerts beat the Westboro Pets to claim the Ottawa women’s title. In mid-March, at Dey’s Ottawa Arena, a crowd of 600 turned out to watch the Alerts take on the Westerns, champions of Montreal. On slushy ice, the Alerts, who were coached by Ernie Butterworth, beat Len Porteous’ Montrealers by a score of 3-1. Thus did the Ottawa team claim the Dey Trophy and the right (according, anyway, to eastern Canadian logic) to call themselves Canadian champions.
The Alerts took on the team from Cornwall that winter, too, which brought Ault and her teammates up against the sensational Albertine Lapensée, who duly scored five goals in a January game in which the Alerts succumbed by a score of 6-3.
Ottawa took a trip to Pennsylvania, too, at the end of February, where they played a pair of games against Pittsburgh Polar Maids, beating them 4-0 and 5-1, and another against the Winter Garden Girls. They won that one 3-1.
“A bad feature of the game was the roughness displayed by some of the local squad,” was the report in the Ottawa Citizen on the latter match-up. “This was altogether unfair, as the visitors were playing a clean game.”
The Ottawa Alerts stopped in Toronto to the way home from that foray, where they skated, wearily, to a 0-0 tie with the local Aura Lee team at the Arena Gardens on Mutual Street. Edith Anderson played at rover that night, while Eva Ault, at centre, “gave a very clever exhibition,” as the Citizen told it.