Saturday, 10 March 2012

Brandon's Stanley Cup History

(Hockey Hall of Fame archives)
Hockey's most famous trophy, the Stanley Cup, will be in the building tonight when the Brandon Wheat Kings host the Saskatoon Blades (7:35 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Every hockey fan worth their salt knows the Stanley Cup, now, is awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League.

What you may not knowe is that in the early 1900's, the Stanley Cup was a challenge trophy and, 108 years ago this weekend, a team known as the Brandon Wheat Cities did exactly that.

The Wheat Cities, an early incarnation of the Brandon Wheat Kings, travelled to Ottawa for a two-game series against the Silver Seven on March 9 and 11, 1904 at the Aberdeen Pavilion.

Ottawa won the two games by scores of 6-3 and 9-3 to retain the Stanley Cup. In the first game, on March 9, Brandon's Lester Patrick (yes, that Lester Patrick) became the first defenceman known to score a goal.

A recap of the second game appeared in the Morning Telegram the following day. 

It's interesting to note that, at that time, teams iced seven players which, if you read that story, consisted of goal, point, cover, rover, centre, right and left.

The Wheat Cities tried again to get their hands on Lord Stanley's mug in 1907, but lost back-to-back games (8-6, 4-1) to the Kenora Thistles at the Winnipeg Arena on March 16 and 18.

BTW, pictures of the Whaet City teams can be found at the Daly House Museum in Brandon.

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