Thursday marks the 100-year anniversary of Vancouver’s first and only Stanley Cup victory.
Of course it was the Vancouver Millionaires, not the Canucks, who captured Lord Stanley’s mug way back in 1915. The Millionaires defeated the Ottawa Senators 3 games to 0 on March 26, 1915.
Vancouver’s place in hockey history is an interesting one, as it was Frank and Lester Patrick that modernized the game here on the west coast:
In 1912 they founded a new league on the West Coast, built huge new arenas, and revolutionized our game to showcase speed and creativity. They introduced forward passing, the blue line, line changes, delayed penalties, and the penalty shot. They placed numbers on players’ sweaters, introduced the scoring concept of assists and allowed goaltenders to leave their feet to make a save. They created the first playoff system in North American sports, the one we still use today. This was the birth of modern hockey.
I think I saw the Canucks play a few games last year under Torts without any forward passing.
The Canucks will be wearing their Millionaires retro jerseys when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. Maybe they’ll raise a Stanley Cup banner too?
It will be nice to get back to associating those slick maroon retro jerseys with the greats of 1915 instead of, you know…
I would like to forget just about everything to do with the Heritage Classic.
Let’s get back to the Millionaires.
The Vancouver Millionaires’ Stanley Cup win predated the NHL, which was founded in 1917. Back in 1915, it was a challenge cup, with the best team from the National Hockey Association playing a best-of-five series against the best team from the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
Vancouver became the first team from the west coast to ever win the Cup, which must have come as a big surprise to the Senators. Ottawa was so confident in a win in Vancouver, they didn’t bother to bring the Stanley Cup with them:
There was no parade, no on-ice presentation. The Senators, so confident they would easily dispatch the upstart Millionaires, had not even brought the Stanley Cup with them to Vancouver. After the final game, the exhausted and defeated Senators crowded into the Millionaires dressing room to congratulate them. The new style of hockey had beaten the old. It wasn’t even close. The hockey world took notice. And our game was set on a new course that favoured speed, skill and creativity.
Who needs the Stanley Cup when you can get a hearty handshake instead?
The Stanley Cup arrived in Vancouver eventually though:
The Stanley Cup finally arrived in town on May 12, long after most of the Millionaires had left town.
I guess I can’t blame them for looking upset.
Anyway, it should be a great night as the Canucks wear the Millionaires jerseys once again, this time hopefully with a better result.