capital caucus

Drop The Puck: Short on sticks but intent on learning the art of the face-off all the same? It’s not quite clear what was going on in Canada’s capital in March of 1906 with this group of attentive skaters, which is identified only as hailing from the Ottawa Ladies College. (Image: William James Topley, Library and Archives Canada)

band of bentleys

Starting Siblings: The brothers Bentley line up during the 1938-39 season, when five of them skated for the Drumheller Miners of the Alberta Senior Hockey League. From left they are (eldest to youngest) Roy, Scoop, Reg, Doug, and Max. Born in Delisle, Saskatchewan, on a Monday of today’s date in 1920, Max, who was a 19-year-old centreman here, went on to a 12-year NHL career with the Chicago Black Hawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers. Like brother Doug (Black Hawks and Rangers), he’d end up in the Hall of Fame. (Reg played briefly in Chicago, too. joining his brothers on a line.) Missing from the photo is another brother, Jack, as well as seven Bentley sisters: Ruth, Jane, Grace, Pearl, Tannis, Florence, and Mary — hockey players all, in their day.

toronto seven

Net Presence: The University of Toronto’s women’s hockey team lines up in 1912 on the ice of the rink near Burwash Hall at Victoria College. The archival record is missing the names of the players, though I think that’s Minnie Louis Barry second from the left. Some of the others may have been on the ice, too, for these 1910 photographs. (Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds, 1244, Item 480)

just like a waving flag

Colour Guard: The XXIV Olympic Winter Games get underway today in Beijing with the parading of enbubbled, bemasked athletes, the lighting of flames, the flying of flags. Bearing Canadian colours alongside speedskater Charles Hamelin is 30-year-old hockey captain and superstar Marie-Philip Poulin. The subject of the 2018 biography pictured here, she scored gold-winning goals in the first two Olympics she played in, of course, in 2010 and 2014, and she captained Canada to a silver showing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. Canada’ 2022 campaign has already hit the ice: Poulin contributed an assist yesterday as she and her teammates opened the tournament with a 12-1 whomping of Switzerland.

amazons prime

Banff Bosses: The 1922 Vancouver Amazons. Top rank, from left: Betty Hinds, Florence Johnson, manager Guy Patrick, Phoebe Senkler, Amelia Voitkevic. Bottom, from left: Lorraine Cannon, Kathleen Carson, Nan Griffith, Nora Senkler, Mayme Leahy. (Image: City of Vancouver Archives)

“In all Canada — the land of scenic grandeur and romance — there are no events that portray the national spirit to a greater extent than the Banff Winter Carnival.” So ran the marketing, anyway, for the annual Alberta jamboree that in 1922 embraced the winter in late January and into February with a festival of curling, “art” (i.e. figure) skating, snowshoe-racing, “ski running and jumping,” tobogganing, swimming (in the warmth of the local sulphur pools), and hockey.

The Banff women’s hockey tournament featured three teams, as far as I can tell, a pair from nearby Calgary, the Byngs and (the Alpine Cup holders) the Regents along with the Vancouver’s Amazons. The latter were owned by Frank Patrick, who was (along with brother Lester) the founder of the PCHA and all-round baron of West-Coast hockey. The team’s coach was a younger Patrick brother, Guy, who served in the First World War with the Canadians Expeditionary Force before retiring to manage Vancouver’s (Patrick-built) Denman Arena. Also attending the team at Banff, though she doesn’t appear in the team portrait above: the team’s chaperone, Mrs. B.E. Green.

The Amazons lost their opening game 1-0 to the Byngs, with Lucy Lee scored the deciding goal for Calgary. “Fine goalkeeping on either side made the game an interesting one to watch,” the Vancouver Daily World decided.

“The mainstay of the Vancouver team is undoubtedly Kathleen Carson, who played a speedy game on left wing,” according to the Calgary Albertan. Vancouver captain Phoebe Senkler was (said the Vancouver Sun) “a tower of strength on defence,” though she eventually had to leave the game after falling and injuring a knee. “For the Byngs, Miss [Helen] Tees in goal could show many men how the nets could be guarded as Miss Carson’s shots were equal to those of Tommy Phillips of Rat Portage fame, so said some fans.”

I’m not sure that the Byngs and the Regents met in Banff; the Amazons duly claimed the Alpine Cup by beating the Regents 2-1 in overtime in what the Albertan called “one of the fastest games ever witnessed at the mountain resort.” With Phoebe Senkler unable to play, the Amazons used Helen Tees of the Byngs as a substitute on defence.

Syd Brewster was credited Calgary’s goal, though the puck seems to have gone in after a Vancouver pass hit a Vancouver skate. For the Amazons, it was Kathleen Carson scoring a pair to decide the matter.

The game was not, as they say, without incident. Here’s the Vancouver’s Province on a first-period fracas:

Florence Johnson [of the Amazons] was penalized for two minutes after being hit on the head by one of the Regents, to which she retaliated. After going to the penalty box she collapsed and had just reached the dressing room when [teammate] Nannie Griffiths was laid out, leaving the Amazons with only six players. Although shot after shot was rained in, it was impossible for the Regents to penetrate the Amazons goal, owing to the “eagle eye” of Amelia Voitkevic, who played a magnificent game.

One last social note: Kathleen Carson and Guy Patrick were married in Vancouver in September of 1922. Lester Patrick was on hand, though I don’t know that Frank was. Standing up as best man was Pete Muldoon, a former coach of the Vancouver Ladies Hockey Team who also steered the PCHA’s Seattle Metropolitans to a Stanley Cup championship in 1917 and, in 1926, was named the very first coach of the Chicago Black Hawks.

canadiennes errants

Autumn’s in the air, and on the calendar, which means, in Canada and other ice-minded jurisdictions, pucks are dropping across the land along with all the leaves. NHL teams this week started their stretching and scrimmaging; tomorrow the league’s exhibition schedule gets underway. NHL training camps of eras past have featured regularly here (and here) at Puckstruck; today, a visit with Les Canadiennes of the Montreal and District Ladies Hockey League as they do their pre-season limbering-up with a trainer at a Montreal gym in November of 1937.

There were four teams in that loop that season, Maroons, Royal, and North End Athletic taking the ice with and against Les Canadiennes, whose coach and GM was a man by the name of Arthur Perreault. I don’t have much more information to offer than that — for one thing, the images above and below come out of the archives without captions to identify the players by, I’m sorry to say. Some of them surely feature in the last image included here, which dates to 1940, and shows Perreault in back: goaltender Germaine Blais, for instance, who served as team captain for the ’37-38 season. A year later, Les Canadiennes did drop (after seven seasons) its affiliation with Montreal’s famous NHL Canadiens, as well as their bleu-blanc-et-rouge colour scheme in favour of a new name, 7 Up, paying tribute to a mighty American soft-drink. The new sponsor featured in the logo on the team’s sweaters, you’ll note, as well as in a new colour scheme, green-and-white.

 

paris match

Sometimes in Paris, in January, there’s an outcrop of hockey; it happened here, above, in 1929. No record of the names of the players, or any scores, or what’s being called has carried down through the years. As for the locale, the accompanying documentation mentions only the “Stadium” — so, possibly, could be at or nearby the original Parc des Princes, in the 16th arrondissement, rather than at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, closer to the Tour Eiffel? Also mentioned in the captioning: Paris was cold, that winter’s day.

 

(Image: Agence Rol, Bibliothèque nationale de France)

we didn’t have the heart to tell him

Bench Strength: Abby Hoffman, all-star blueliner, with the OHA St. Catharines juniors in March of 1956. (Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3184)

Now 74, Abby Hoffman tore through an athletics career that saw her win Pan-American gold running the 800 metres and representing Canada in track and field in four Olympic Games from 1964 through to 1976. In 1956, when she was nine years old, she was making front-page news in her hometown on the hockey rink when officials in the Little Toronto Hockey League determined that she was … a girl.

“She begged us to do something about getting her on a hockey team,” her mother, Dorothy, recounted. “She went down to the THL when the season started and she was taken on a boys team, even though she had to present her birth certificate. Later I got a call from a very nice gentleman who said he would like ‘our boy’ to play on one of the teams. We didn’t have the heart to tell him the boy was a girl and spoil her chances of playing.”

“Ab” Hoffman played defence for the St. Catharines Tee Pees; it was when she was selected to play in the league’s all-star game that it the league discovered that she was Abigail. This was page-one copy in The Toronto Daily Star this week in ’56: she had played “more than a dozen games over the past four months with her team without arousing the suspicions of league officials, her coach, her manager, or her 15 teammates.”

“League officials,” the Canadian Press advised, “at first debated her eligibility to play … but decided to let her continue.”

By the following week, newspapers across Canada were reporting on Hoffman’s whirlwind weekend.

She collected an assist in her team’s 5-0 win over St. Michael’s.

Having sold $30 worth of tickets to the LTHL all-star game, she learned she’d earned a brand-new batch of hockey equipment.

On the Saturday night, she attended her very first NHL game, witnessing the local Maple Leafs dispatch the New York Rangers by a score of 5-2.

Sunday, she was out on the Maple Leaf Gardens ice, skating as the mascot for the OHA Junior A St. Catharines Tee Pees and giving a solo skating exhibition between periods, as well as climbing to the arena’s famous gondola for a radio interview.

She also prompted the league to set up a three-day hockey school for girls. Five days after the Hoffman story broke, LTHL chairman Earl Graham reported that “an appeal for would-be girl hockey players produced 40 applicants, ranging in age from six to 15.”

The following Friday was the all-star game. Hoffman’s team prevailed 1-0 over their Hamilton opposition. She didn’t score, but according to a Canadian Press dispatch, “little Abi [sic] outskated and outchecked her nine-year-old opponents with the gusto of a major leaguer.”

a fine argument on the ice

Coastal Crew: The Vancouver Ladies Hockey Team line up on the steps of the Denman Street Arena circa 1914. Back row, left to right (as originally captioned) they are Connie Smith (right wing), Betty Hinds (rover), Pete Muldoon (manager), Nellie Haddon (centre), Miss Matheson (left wing). From, from left: Mrs. French (coverpoint), Mrs. L.N. McKechnie (goal), Mrs. Percival (point). (Image: Stuart Thomson, City of Vancouver Archives)

“Mr. Muldoon is of the opinion that there is sufficient class among the Vancouver ladies to give either of the opposition teams a fine argument on the ice.” This was February of 1914, and Pete Muldoon was looking to raise a women’s team in Vancouver to challenge those already on skates elsewhere in British Columbia that winter. Come one, come all, the word went out: first practice would be held on  Monday the 9th at the Denman Street Arena between 11 and noon.

In 1911, hockey’s famous Patricks — father Joseph along with sons Frank and Lester — put the family’s lumber fortune into building rinks and launching professional hockey in Canada’s westernmost province. When the three-team Pacific Coast Hockey Association got going in January of 1912, it counted in its ranks players whose names today figure among the most famous in the annals of the game, Cyclone Taylor, Newsy Lalonde, and the Patrick brothers among them.

Pete Muldoon played for Frank Patrick’s Vancouver Millionaires, but it was as a manager and coach that he’d make his name. His PCHA Seattle Metropolitans played three times for the Stanley Cup, winning it in 1917. In 1926, when Major Frederic McLaughlin bought the Portland Rosebuds and turned them into the NHL’s Chicago Black Hawks, Muldoon was their first coach. He resigned after a year, unless he was fired — either way, the legend goes that he cast the curse that kept the Hawks out of first place in the NHL for 41 years when the spell was lifted/broken/proved to be bunkum.

Back to 1914 and the women’s game. As Wayne Norton’s Women On Ice: The Early Years of Women’s Hockey in Western Canada (2009) explains, when women’s teams from New Westminster and Victoria played each other in Victoria that February, Muldoon hatched the idea that he’d put together a Vancouver team to challenge the winner for the B.C. championship. Never mind that there were various other women’s teams playing elsewhere in the province — Muldoon and company conveniently forgot about them.

Following that first February practice at the Denman Street Arena and several more besides, the team made its debut on February 20. Wearing the the maroon-and-white sweaters of the PCHA Millionaires and playing seven-a-side, the Vancouver Ladies beat Victoria 1-0 on a goal by Betty Hinds. The intermission entertainment included a performance by Coach Muldoon skating on stilts. The newspaper coverage was as casually and tiresomely sexist as you might expect, with the Vancouver Daily World reporting that

The game was exciting from start to finish and it was not all “butter fingers” playing at that. Some of the hockey exhibited by one or two of the local ladies and some of the Victoria ladies would certainly make many hockey players take notice.

Victoria and New Westminster had previously tied their game, so that when the Millionaires travelled to play the final game in the series, a win by New Westminster gave them the not exactly inclusive) title of provincial champions.

sometime other than now

Brighter Days: Toronto is in the Grey as of today, under the coding of the Ontario government’s COVID-19 response, which is to say locked down again for a stretch of 28 days. In hockey terms, that means you could get yourself skating on an outdoor rink, if you felt the need and could find one, but not get anything resembling a game going, especially not in front of spectators: all that’s forbidden. Once, though, once … in this case, what we’re looking at is a scene of women facing off on the frozen field beside Burwash Hall at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College. The date given is a general one, 1910-20, but since the building of Burwash Hall, a student residence, was completed in 1913, we can narrow that down a bit more. (Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 477)