Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Memorial Cup: A history . . . 1930

Regina Pats vs. West Toronto Athletic Club Nationals
at Winnipeg (Amphitheatre)

While the West Toronto Athletic Club juniors were scraping by the Ottawa Rideaus to earn Eastern Canada’s berth in the Memorial Cup final, the Regina Pats were running amuck in the West, swatting aside their opponents the way a swather knocks down wheat.

In Toronto, the Rideaus won the first game of the East's two-game, total-goal final, 4-3. But West Toronto won the second game 3-1 on March 23 to take the series by a combined score of 6-5.

In Winnipeg, on March 24, the Pats blanked the Elmwood Millionaires 5-0 to win that two-game, total-goal series 8-0.

As noted sports writer Dave Dryburgh wrote in the Regina Leader: "Many records have been set by hockey teams, professional, senior, amateur and junior, and many of these same records will stand for years, but one which can probably be termed the peer of them all was set at the Amphitheatre rink when Al Ritchie's spirited band of young hockeyists, the Regina Pats, hung up another shutout over the Elmwood Millionaires.

"Four times in as many games the Regina puckchasers have skated off the ice without a tally being registered against them in the playoffs to decide which team would represent the prairies against the best that the East could produce in junior hockey.”

The Pats scored 14 goals in four games, while blanking the Calgary Canadians and the Millionaires in all four games.

Furthermore, Regina goaltender Kenny Campbell went into the Memorial Cup having posted five straight shutouts.

With West Toronto, under coach Bill Hancock, having survived a tough playoff grind and having had to ride the train to Winnipeg, site of the Dominion final, the Pats -- well-rested and on a roll -- were understandably the favorites.

After Game 1, which was played on March 27, Dryburgh wrote: "Out of the East came a mighty junior hockey machine, West Toronto, piloted by the astute Bill Hancock, bent upon retaining the Memorial Cup, won by the flashy Toronto Marlboroughs last spring, but at the Amphitheatre Thursday night, pitted against that fiery little Regina Pat aggregation, Western champions, and the wonder team of 1930, the redmen fought a plucky but futile battle, and when the smoke of the combat had cleared away, Al Ritchie's band of speed merchants were found to be on the long end of a 3-1 score.”

Wordy, yes. But it made the point.

The Pats were the speedier of the two teams. The result was an offence that pressed throughout the game and a system of backchecking that foiled the easterners.

Campbell seemed on his way to yet another shutout until Bob Gracie scored midway through the third period. By that time the Pats were out front 2-0 thanks to a second-period goal by Ken Moore and one early in the third by Clarence (Yates) Acaster. Shortly after Gracie got West Toronto on the board, Len Rae scored Regina's third goal.

It was all over on March 29.

Again, here's how Dryburgh started his story:

"Forty seconds to go and the score tied; to one team a goal would mean the Dominion junior hockey championship; to the other an opportunity to force another contest before the holders of the Memorial Cup for 1930 could be decided.

"That was the situation which faced the Regina Pats and West Toronto at the Amphitheatre rink on Saturday night in the second game of the title series. And it was a tense moment for over 5,000 spectators who jammed the ice palace to capacity.”

And it was Moore, who had scored the first goal of the series, who became the hero.

"Suddenly two blue-and-white clad figures emerged from the midst of a horde of players at the Regina blue line and darted toward the opposing citadel as fast as steel blades would carry them. It was (Gordon) Pettinger and Moore who had taken opportunity of this break. There was hardly a sound as they neared the defence. Pettinger slid the disc over to Moore on the right boards -- the winger seemed to skate too far into the corner but eventually took a shot which (Ronald) Geddes, the Toronto goalie, saved with his pads. Darting in after the rebound, the dusky Regina winger picked it up and slipped it across the goal mouth -- it was hardly more than a tap, and the puck stopped dead less than three feet from the goal mouth. There was nobody on hand to pick it up and it seemed for a second that the opportunity was lost -- but everyone had forgotten about Moore. Skating around the cage at top speed in order to get back in the play again, the winger grabbed the rubber that he himself had slid across the mouth of the citadel and back-handed it over the prostrate form of Geddes to make the score 3-2 and to win for the Regina Pats the junior hockey championship of Canada after one of the most sensational finishes ever seen in the puck pastime.”


But wait. There's more.

"The game was almost over, but not the excitement. Gracie, Toronto right winger, took possession of the rubber from the faceoff and wended his way toward the Regina goal, only to end up in the corner of the rink where he and Moore came to blows. In an instant every player on the ice was implicated, along with a few spectators, but, fortunately, no serious injury had been occurred to anyone when they were finally separated by police.''

Thirty seconds into the second period, West Toronto had led this game 2-0, thanks to goals by Gracie and Norm (Dodger) Collings. But Acaster scored before the second period ended and Pettinger, a starry defenceman, tied it three minutes into the third.

That set the stage for Moore, a 19-year-old right winger who was a product of the Regina minor hockey system and who weighed 130 pounds.

NEXT: 1931 (Elmwood Millionaires vs. Ottawa Primroses)

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