The Victoria Cougars victory of 1925 is celebrated as the last time a non-NHL team won the Stanley Cup. But in fact, Victoria could have (or should have) hoisted the cup a hundred years ago.
On March 30, 1913, Daily Colonist and Times readers opened their papers to find the results of the third and deciding game of the world championships of hockey. Those not present at the game discovered that Victoria won 6-1 over the powerful Quebec Bulldogs, the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Victoria’s triumph was reported across the country. Quebec’s manager acknowledged that the Bulldogs were beaten by a better team.
The Stanley Cup trustees gave an east-west series their blessing, regardless of where in Canada it occurred. They left the teams to work it out.
Lester Patrick, playing manager of Victoria, proposed the series take place in Toronto, the only eastern city with artificial ice. Quebec would only play for the Stanley Cup in Quebec in front of their hometown fans. The compromise involved the series in Victoria, for the world championship of hockey, not the Stanley Cup.
Most accounts written since ignore or dismiss the challenge as “exhibition games,” as Quebec newspapers called them.
I think it’s important to seek out and reflect upon events like this that have slipped from our collective memory, and recognize the importance of newspapers that covered past events. The facts reported at the time can thankfully never be erased or manipulated as easily as later accounts.
© Copyright 2013