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Hockey in Great Britain, Early Years

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Old
03-30-2014, 01:34 PM
  #51
Canadiens1958
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European and Olympic Rules

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Unfortunately I haven't.

From the link you've posted:



As we have established Canadians were British citizens per default, so the article seems to make the same mistake I made earlier when it claims the BIHF was looking for Canadians "who held British passports".

My second remark: Who put the "rules of the league" in place if not the BIHF itself? If this is true then they were not merely reacting to provisions from anybody else when they started searching for players in Canada and the 1936 Olympic roster was not merely a byproduct. Instead the rules were put in place by the BIHF to provide the British League with a foundation of high-end Canadian players who were eligible to represent Great Britain internationally.
While I agree with and support your interpretation there are unanswered questions.

European and Olympic rules had to be deficient since they allowed the BIHF to sculpt a rule to a loophole. So what were the European and Olympic rules at the time?

Also Senior Amateur hockey in Canada during the 1930s was such that a number of other European countries could have done likewise - France, Switzerland, Italy to name three were very actively recruiting eligible Canadians app 25-30 years later, while Czechoslovakia benefitted from Mike Buckna post 1936 Winter Olympics.Does not seem that the opportunity was uniquely available to Britain but was it?

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03-31-2014, 05:08 AM
  #52
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
European and Olympic rules had to be deficient since they allowed the BIHF to sculpt a rule to a loophole. So what were the European and Olympic rules at the time?
Basically what I have outlined in post #40 (+ 42, 45). Deficiency is confirmed by the fact that there repeatedly was a need for ad hoc rulings, like in 1910 (Prince's Club), 1932 (Morris, Michaelis) and 1936 (players born in Britain).

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Also Senior Amateur hockey in Canada during the 1930s was such that a number of other European countries could have done likewise - France, Switzerland, Italy to name three were very actively recruiting eligible Canadians app 25-30 years later, while Czechoslovakia benefitted from Mike Buckna post 1936 Winter Olympics.Does not seem that the opportunity was uniquely available to Britain but was it?
I guess the strong bond between Great Britain and Canada (Canada being a British dominion, a comparatively strong Canadian presence in Britain, the significant number of Canadian expats in hockey there from the go) served to make the BIHF realize this opportunity in its full extent earlier than other countries and their national hockey associations.

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03-31-2014, 07:16 AM
  #53
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Agreed

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Basically what I have outlined in post #40 (+ 42, 45). Deficiency is confirmed by the fact that there repeatedly was a need for ad hoc rulings, like in 1910 (Prince's Club), 1932 (Morris, Michaelis) and 1936 (players born in Britain).



I guess the strong bond between Great Britain and Canada (Canada being a British dominion, a comparatively strong Canadian presence in Britain, the significant number of Canadian expats in hockey there from the go) served to make the BIHF realize this opportunity in its full extent earlier than other countries and their national hockey associations.
Agreed but a few loose ends have to be tied.

Still looking for details about the 1934 AAU meeting that was going to address similar issues about athletic imports playing for amateur teams in the USA.

Not sure that the British realized the opportunity. Sense it was more a structural issue. Canada and the USA had strong or active university hockey. Britain(slightly) had a start-up university hockey scene. As far as I know, the universities have always held that regardless of provenance any student in good standing was eligible to play for athletic teams in intercollegiate competition.This is true to this day and extends down to prep schools, high schools, grade schools in Canada and the USA. The schools are not bound by hockey districts but by school districts. The private schools are not bound by any districts, just "student in good standing" rules. My sense is that Britain stretched the school position, using citizenship to loophole the rules and build a non-university based hockey force.

The situation in the thirties between Britain and Canada also explains the roots of the enmities between Bunny Ahearne and the C.A.H.A.

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04-01-2014, 04:35 AM
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Not sure that the British realized the opportunity.
I think so:

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George Fosty/Darril Fosty/John Jelley:
Together, Bunny Ahearne and Philip Vassar Hunter, the president of the British Ice Hockey Association (BIHA), had determined that they wanted Great Britain to make a serious challenge for Olympic glory at the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. They ruled that each club in the British League should have to play at least four British-born players giving, theoretically, the BIHA a pool of 28 good quality British-born, but Canadian-trained players.

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04-01-2014, 05:39 AM
  #55
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In the case of Pitblado, his qualifications are similar to Lester Pearson's. Father born in Canada, grandfather born in the British Isles, served with Canadian units in WWI, students at Oxford.
You are right. It strikes me as curious then that the number of Canadian-born Oxfordians who represented Great Britain internationally in the 1924-1932 period seems to be limited to just two: Pitblado (1924) and Charles Herbert Little (1931). Their team was one of the best in Europe and if they all were eligible, how come they didn't compose the backbone of Team GB?

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04-01-2014, 09:51 AM
  #56
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University Hockey

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I think so:
Comment was about realizing the opportunity to grow hockey via the universities as well as the club teams.

In Canada the universities were allowed to enter teams in the Intercollegiate Leagues AND Senior Amateur Leagues at the same time.

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04-01-2014, 12:17 PM
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Comment was about realizing the opportunity to grow hockey via the universities as well as the club teams.

In Canada the universities were allowed to enter teams in the Intercollegiate Leagues AND Senior Amateur Leagues at the same time.
Okay. I was referring to the opportunity to ice a stronger national team. Intercollegiate Leagues did not exist in Great Britain at that time from what I have read. Maybe I'm still misunderstanding your point.

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04-01-2014, 05:12 PM
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
You are right. It strikes me as curious then that the number of Canadian-born Oxfordians who represented Great Britain internationally in the 1924-1932 period seems to be limited to just two: Pitblado (1924) and Charles Herbert Little (1931). Their team was one of the best in Europe and if they all were eligible, how come they didn't compose the backbone of Team GB?
I think some of it may be the players' choice, since many of them had political aspirations after returning to Canada.

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04-01-2014, 05:25 PM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Rotter View Post
I think some of it may be the players' choice, since many of them had political aspirations after returning to Canada.
I would have expected a more mixed picture with more than just two players (in eight years/five tournaments) saying yes to Great Britain in this case.

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04-02-2014, 04:07 AM
  #60
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Part 4 has been fixed. The passage in question now reads:

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
While teams like Oxford toured Europe, the domestic circuit in Great Britain was still in shambles. When the British Ice Hockey Association (BIHA) was re-established in 1923 only one rink was actually in use for hockey games. Nevertheless, the BIHA under Patton (see Part 3) managed to assemble a competitive team to represent Great Britain in the 1924 Olympics. Its core consisted of Canadians who were stationed in England in the course of their service in the British Army.

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04-02-2014, 09:58 AM
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Rotter View Post
I think some of it may be the players' choice, since many of them had political aspirations after returning to Canada.
Interesting suggestion, theory. Makes sense. Alternatively however, maybe they werent available or perhaps better players were?

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04-02-2014, 10:27 AM
  #62
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Question

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Okay. I was referring to the opportunity to ice a stronger national team. Intercollegiate Leagues did not exist in Great Britain at that time from what I have read. Maybe I'm still misunderstanding your point.
My question/point is why didn't hockey also develop in Britain along the Intercollegiate path as it did in Canada and the USA?

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04-02-2014, 10:45 AM
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
perhaps better players were?
Oxford with its Canadians was one of the strongest teams in Britain & Europe in the 1920s and the early 1930s. Yet only two Oxfordians represented Great Britain during that time compared to seven players (William H. Anderson, A. Wallace Johnson, William G. Speechley, Charles I. Wylde, Bernhard H. Fawcette, Frank A. De Marwicz, Peter Churchill) from Cambridge, a weaker team.

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My question/point is why didn't hockey also develop in Britain along the Intercollegiate path as it did in Canada and the USA?
I wish I had an answer. I haven't found any reference to ice hockey being played at British Universities other than Oxford and Cambridge at all so far.

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04-02-2014, 11:16 AM
  #64
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^^^ Interesting, as I have a hard time imagining the likes of Lester B. Pearson & Roland Michener being hard rock hockey players I must say. Far more cerebral. Serious "hard rock" players from the mining communities of lets say Timmins or wherever wouldve absolutely turned them into ground beef... And I note as well in the same vein that in the England earlier on when the game was "presented" with Canadians playing, there were some comments in accounts that the game was "rather brutalist, unsportsmanlike" what with the contact & so on. A bit offensive to British sensibilities of what constituted fair play amongst the Upper Middle Classes, the environment in which it was being played of Oxford & Cambridge, Regimentally by Officers. A wild & woolly game from the Colonies.

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04-03-2014, 09:45 AM
  #65
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Progress

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Oxford with its Canadians was one of the strongest teams in Britain & Europe in the 1920s and the early 1930s. Yet only two Oxfordians represented Great Britain during that time compared to seven players (William H. Anderson, A. Wallace Johnson, William G. Speechley, Charles I. Wylde, Bernhard H. Fawcette, Frank A. De Marwicz, Peter Churchill) from Cambridge, a weaker team.



I wish I had an answer. I haven't found any reference to ice hockey being played at British Universities other than Oxford and Cambridge at all so far.
Still the thread has made amazing progress. Perhaps clues will surface as it moves forward and other information comes to light.

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04-04-2014, 05:21 AM
  #66
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Still the thread has made amazing progress.
Not least due to contributions & inquiries by others then myself. Thanks everybody so far!

Will see that I carry on with the 1920s/1930s soon.

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04-09-2014, 10:48 AM
  #67
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Part 5

In the period following 1924 the selections representing Great Britain were not able to follow up on the Olympic bronze medal, even though they were still made up of as many players born and bred in Canada as possible. Oxford and Cambridge as well as London Lions (founded 1924) annually toured Europe during the winter season, but in Great Britain only one rink (Manchester) saw hockey action. In the second half of the 1920s however a considerable number of new rinks were built, especially in London. By 1930 it was reported that the city had "fallen in love with ice skating": "You may skate morning, noon, and night if you like, and may enjoy this priviledge very inexpensively". The establishment of new ice hockey clubs followed on the heel. In 1929 an English Southern Ice Hockey Hockey League reportedly began to operate, followed by an English League with two divisions in 1931. The first two editions were won by Oxford University with its Rhodes Scholars (among them goaltender C. H. Little who is said to have turned down NHL try-outs before and after his stint in England). They remained undefeated for two seasons. In the third season, 1933-1934, their streak ended and a team called Grosvenor House Canadians (courtesy of Grosvenor House Hotel at Park Lane) managed to win the title. Matching its name, the club consisted of Canadians residing in London.

The first years of the league were not without turbulence since some of the new rinks were short-lived and teams were forced to move, but continued rink-building in the 1930s made the issue managable. An additional boost was received when an All-Star Team from the Ottawa City Senior League (featuring a young Bill Cowley) appeared in England in 1931-1932. Not that they were the first team from Canada to tour the home country, but on this occasion British radio began to broadcast hockey games (January 1932), fueling an unprecedented boom in public exposure. Two years later BIHA president J. C. P. Magwood was able to go on record as saying that while there was "considerably keener interest, publicly, in the international games...than in the league games", there was also a "promising growth of local interest in the teams" playing in the English League. According to Magwood, there was also a junior circuit with 12 teams in place and while the "nucleus" of each senior team still consisted of Canadians, "the majority of players being developed were English". Moreover, the fact that the league included teams from Bournemouth, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool shows that the spreading of hockey was not restricted to London and Oxford/Cambridge any more. In fact, the opening of a rink in Glasgow in 1928 led to the appearance of hockey clubs there too. They soon entered into an organized circuit, consisting of various tournaments, and in 1934 a Scottish National League was established.

Next: The Golden Age.

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04-09-2014, 05:10 PM
  #68
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British Radio

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Part 5

In the period following 1924 the selections representing Great Britain were not able to follow up on the Olympic bronze medal, even though they were still made up of as many players born and bred in Canada as possible. Oxford and Cambridge as well as London Lions (founded 1924) annually toured Europe during the winter season, but in Great Britain only one rink (Manchester) saw hockey action. In the second half of the 1920s however a considerable number of new rinks were built, especially in London. By 1930 it was reported that the city had "fallen in love with ice skating": "You may skate morning, noon, and night if you like, and may enjoy this priviledge very inexpensively". The establishment of new ice hockey clubs followed on the heel. In 1929 an English Southern Ice Hockey Hockey League reportedly began to operate, followed by an English League with two divisions in 1931. The first two editions were won by Oxford University with its Rhodes Scholars (among them goaltender C. H. Little who is said to have turned down NHL try-outs before and after his stint in England). They remained undefeated for two seasons. In the third season, 1933-1934, their streak ended and a team called Grosvenor House Canadians (courtesy of Grosvenor House Hotel at Park Lane) managed to win the title. Matching its name, the club consisted of Canadians residing in London.

The first years of the league were not without turbulence since some of the new rinks were short-lived and teams were forced to move, but continued rink-building in the 1930s made the issue managable. An additional boost was received when an All-Star Team from the Ottawa City Senior League (featuring a young Bill Cowley) appeared in England in 1931-1932. Not that they were the first team from Canada to tour the home country, but on this occasion British radio began to broadcast hockey games (January 1932), fueling an unprecedented boom in public exposure. Two years later BIHA president J. C. P. Magwood was able to go on record as saying that while there was "considerably keener interest, publicly, in the international games...than in the league games", there was also a "promising growth of local interest in the teams" playing in the English League. According to Magwood, there was also a junior circuit with 12 teams in place and while the "nucleus" of each senior team still consisted of Canadians, "the majority of players being developed were English". Moreover, the fact that the league included teams from Bournemouth, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool shows that the spreading of hockey was not restricted to London and Oxford/Cambridge any more. In fact, the opening of a rink in Glasgow in 1928 led to the appearance of hockey clubs there too. They soon entered into an organized circuit, consisting of various tournaments, and in 1934 a Scottish National League was established.

Next: The Golden Age.
Radio broadcasts. When did the other sports start receiving similar attention? Also were the hockey games broadcast on the BBC or the IBC stations?

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04-09-2014, 08:04 PM
  #69
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Radio broadcasts. When did the other sports start receiving similar attention? Also were the hockey games broadcast on the BBC or the IBC stations?
Not sure C58, but as the IBC stations were sort of "part time" & featured commercials, and knowing that the first radio broadcast of a hockey game was in January of 1932 from Grosvenor House Hotel (believe it or not the arena was in the basement of the place & held 1500) between Canada (7) & GB (0) I suspect IBC carriages pulled that one onto the airwaves. Because the game & skating was new & novel, Grosvenor House sponsoring a team and with an arena, they likely sponsored the event & radio broadcast. Later in the 30's the Germans began jamming IBC signals, only Radio Luxembourg managing to make a go of it as hostilities ramped up... just 6yrs after that first radio broadcast, the first ever televised hockey game also was aired in Britain in 1938, but Im getting ahead of the narrative here so I'll remain silent. Signing off for now.

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04-10-2014, 09:38 AM
  #70
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When did the other sports start receiving similar attention?
The BBC had begun to broadcast several sports in 1927. Mostly rugby football, association football, tennis (Wimbledon, Davis Cup), The Boat Race, horse racing (The Derby) and motorsports. From 1934 on transmissions of cricket, boxing and athletics gained traction too. Source with many details: The historical essay "BBC Radio and Sport 1922-39" by Mike Huggins.

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Also were the hockey games broadcast on the BBC or the IBC stations?
F. L. Summerhays, president of the Park Lane Ice Club, told the Ottawa Citizen it wasn't easy to get hockey on air "as the government controls the radio here" (in Great Britain). I don't know whether that applies to IBC too or only to BBC.

According to a list (page 498) provided by Mike Huggins (see above) the number of "BBC national commentaries" on ice hockey prior to 1935 amounts to zero, but the BBC also had regional stations (London, Manchester, etc.) which offered additional sports coverage with a focus on events of regional interest and those are not counted as "national commentaries". It's possible that hockey broadcasts were done by BBC London for example. Later broadcasts were definitely carried by the BBC, with Canadian journalist Robert Bowman being a popular Commentator in the second half of the 1930s.

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believe it or not the arena was in the basement of the place & held 1500
Correct!

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between Canada (7) & GB (0)
The team labeled as "Canada" was actually the Ottawa City Senior League All-Star Team.

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just 6yrs after that first radio broadcast, the first ever televised hockey game also was aired in Britain in 1938, but Im getting ahead of the narrative here so I'll remain silent.
Thanks!

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04-11-2014, 04:22 AM
  #71
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Chuck Gardiner, gold in the 1936 Olympics, UK had some great hockey history back in the day.

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04-11-2014, 11:23 AM
  #72
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One of the Oxford Canadians in the early 1920s was Richard Bonnycastle, who would help found a book publisher in Winnipeg:Harlequin


One of the Oxford Canadians in the early 1930s was James Coyne, who would become Governor of The Bank Of Canada. He died a couple of years ago at the age of 102 (Andrew Coyne is his son).

More "Canadians playing hockey in Britain" Trivial Pursuit when we get to the 1970s (hint).

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04-11-2014, 11:39 AM
  #73
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^^^ Isnt that interesting. Did not know that. Quite a few notables playing in the UK in the early era.

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04-11-2014, 05:10 PM
  #74
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One of the Oxford Canadians in the early 1920s was Richard Bonnycastle, who would help found a book publisher in Winnipeg:Harlequin
The first printing company that I worked for back in the 1950's was Stovel Advocate Press, which was owned by Bonnycastle. He had a pretty good sense of humor. One of the gifts that he gave to the employees at Christmas was a dart board with his face as the bulls eye.

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04-11-2014, 07:47 PM
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The first printing company that I worked for back in the 1950's was Stovel Advocate Press, which was owned by Bonnycastle. He had a pretty good sense of humor. One of the gifts that he gave to the employees at Christmas was a dart board with his face as the bulls eye.
Nice! A couple of freebie Harlequin books as well?

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