Allan Cup Finalists

On Campus News, 15 March 1996

The year was 1923: Banting had discovered insulin, prohibition in the US had created a booming smuggling industry in Canada, a war-weary British Empire appeared on the brink of another conflict in Turkey and the University of Saskatchewan had one of the best amateur hockey teams in the country. The 1922/23 Varsity Green and White had won the City League championship, the provincial amateur championship, the inter-provincial university championship, and the western Canadian league championship via scheduled playoffs, challenge matches, and forfeit. As a result, they found themselves finalists for the Allan Cup, the Dominion's ultimate hockey prize.

In March, the Varsity team was in Winnipeg to play a two game total point series against the defending champions the Toronto Granites. After losing the opener 6-1, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association suggested that the U of S might consider forfeiting the second game in favour of an exhibition match with a local team. Varsity refused and before a packed house of anti-Toronto fans, the Green and White held the Granites scoreless through two periods, only to succumb to the stronger side in the third, losing 5-1. University President Walter Murray, who witnessed the cup final, said it was "a contest demonstrating most clearly the true University spirit of determination, stamina and aggressiveness."

A crowd exceeding 1000 jammed Saskatoon's CNR station platform to welcome the team home. After a parade through the downtown, 300 assembled at the Imperial Cafe where university and city dignitaries praised of the team's accomplishments. A feature of the evening was the presentation of gold medals by the Students' Representative Council. The Allan Cup may have been beyond their grasp but Varsity's players had won the admiration of the whole city and, according to Mayor Howard McConnell, caused the citizens to realize more strongly than before the bond of unity between them and the U of S.

Patrick Hayes