Friday, April 25, 2008

The Memorial Cup: A history . . . 1933

Regina Pats vs. Newmarket Redmen
at Toronto (Maple Leaf Gardens)

For the fourth time in eight years Regina would be represented in the Memorial Cup final, Al Ritchie's Pats having won the Abbott Cup in a thrilling three-game series with the Brandon Native Sons.
The first two games were ties before Regina won the series with a 2-1 victory on March 30 before a soldout crowd of 5,025 fans at the Winnipeg Amphitheatre. (Howie Milne, former Regina junior star player and coach, was one of the referees used in this series.)
Meanwhile, in the East, the Newmarket Reds and Montreal Royals played to a 2-2 tie in front of 11,000 fans at the Montreal Forum. Two nights later, in front of 8,000 fans in Toronto, Newmarket won the two-game, total-goal series with a 1-0 victory on centre Normie Mann's goal on a long shot early in the second period.
Coach Bill Hancock's Redmen went into the best-of-three Memorial Cup final in Toronto without left-winger Howie Peterson, who had suffered a knee injury against Montreal. And defenceman Gar Preston would see limited duty because of a shoulder injury.
Game 1, played on April 5 before 8,250 fans at Maple Leaf Gardens, was won 2-1 by Newmarket.
Willis Entwistle, writing in the Regina Leader-Post, called it a "thrilling struggle.”
Newmarket goaltender Randall Forder received rave reviews for his work in the opener, especially in the second and third periods when the Pats owned a wide territorial edge.
Mann opened the scoring early in the first period when he beat Regina goaltender Jimmy Franks (who wore a blazing red cap) from the blue line.
Regis (Pep) Kelly scored early in the second to up Newmarket's lead to 2-0 before Reg Strong counted Regina's lone goal about seven minutes later.
Ritchie, writing in The Leader-Post, had this to say: "Newmarket has the fastest junior hockey team I have seen for many a year. They skate like the old 1925 Pats ... just like lightning.”
Entwistle wrote: "Comparisons are odious but, at first glance, the present Pats are hardly as electrical as their predecessors. They are, however, a hard-working, smooth combination and should fare much better in the second game.“
There were almost 8,000 fans in the Gardens for Game 2 on April 7 and they watched the Redmen win the Memorial Cup with a 2-1 overtime victory (they played 30 minutes of extra time).
Again, Mann opened the scoring, this time batting in his own rebound in the last minute of the opening period.
Les Cunningham tied it on a solo effort late in the second period.
The winner came with less than two minutes left in the third 10-minute overtime period when Don Wilson scored a power-play goal with Regina defenceman Moose Stinson and centre Murray Armstrong -- he would later coach the Pats -- in the penalty box.
After which the stuff hit the fan.
Here's Entwistle's description: "The only untoward incident was at the close of the second game when one or two players adopted an ugly attitude after Newmarket had triumphed following 30 minutes of overtime. However, what looked like an ugly scramble was really nothing more than a few players throwing their arms around some of their comrades who appeared less able to control their feelings.
"The teams were soon rushed to their dressing rooms although someone, not a player, hit referee Johnny Mitchell in the face. Mitchell was a little exasperating. The penalties tell their own tale -- 13 Regina, 8 Newmarket.”
In the Toronto Star, the respected Lou Marsh wrote: "Al Ritchie, force Majeur de Sport in the west, is through with amateur sport -- sick and disgusted after his team's defeat last night.”
Marsh quoted Ritchie as blaming Mitchell for being "gypped” and adding that his players could hardly be blamed for "losing their tempers.”
"I never saw a more partisan official in my life,” Ritchie said. "He gave us penalties we did not deserve and let Newmarket get away with things for which they should have been punished.”
Marsh also wrote: "There is no excuse for any player attacking an official and Kerr as instigator is about sure to be asked to be paraded on the official carpet: He may get a suspension.”
Mitchell suffered a cut lip in the scuffle. Alex (Curly) Kerr, the Pats' captain, was hit with a suspension. He had been penalized three times by Mitchell during the second game.
In fact, four of the Pats -- Kerr, Franks, Cunningham and Bill Cairns -- were immediately suspended by the CAHA.
A week after returning home, Ritchie was still seething.
"Kerr certainly did not hit Mitchell,” Ritchie said. "It was a well known hockey player that did the damage. As far as Jimmy Franks, Cunningham and Cairns being implicated, that is a joke. The true facts will all come out through time.”
Asked if he still felt "gypped“, Ritchie said: "Certainly. And that is no losers' squawk. I have taken beatings before, many of them. Just to show you what I mean, Chief Justice J.T. Brown of Regina and Joe Caulder, now of Toronto, saw the game. They were disgusted by the officiating of Mitchell ... Lester Patrick and his New York Rangers openly stated they had never seen anything like it in their lives before. Nor had Dick Irvin (Sr.).”
Finally, on May 25, the CAHA made its long-awaited announcement.
Kerr, who now had used up his junior eligibility, was suspended until Feb. 1, 1934. By the time the suspension was announced he had joined the Prince Albert Mintos, a senior team. He would miss six weeks of the 1933-34 season.
Cunningham, Franks and Cairns were given warnings.

NEXT: 1934 (Edmonton Athletics vs. Toronto St. Michael's Majors)

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