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Preston Rivulettes

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The Rivulettes were inducted into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.[1] Although there is no clear origin, speculation is that an incident occurred in 1930 at Lowther St. Arena. The Preston Rivulettes girls softball team were pondering their future and a member of the team suggested hockey. The story is that an onlooker scoffed at the idea and challenged them.

Initial rosterEdit

The first nine members of the team were:

    • Hilda and Nellie Ranscombe
    • Marm and Helen Schmuck
    • Marg Gabbitass
    • Myrtle Parr
    • Toddy Webb
    • Pat Marriott
    • Helen Sault

Early historyEdit

two women putting on hockey equipment

Preston Rivulettes post card Ruth Dargel on right; Nellie Lanscombe on left

The Rivulettes played teams from Ontario cities such as Toronto, Kitchener, Stratford, London, Hamilton, Guelph and Port Dover. Over the years, other players represented the Rivulettes team. These included: Violet Hall, Sheila Lahey, Gladys Hawkins, Norma Hipel, Ruth Dargel, Elvis Williams, Fay Hilborn, Winnie Makcrow and Eleanor Fairgrieves, Midge Robertson and Marie Bielstein.

Between 1930 and 1940, the team played an estimated 350 games.[2] They lost only two and tied three. For the entire decade of the 1930’s, the Rivulettes were the winners of the Bobby Rosenfeld Trophy. The trophy was given to the Ontario champions. In addition, the Rivulettes were six time winners of the Eastern Canadian championship and the Elmer Doust Cup (the honour for winning the Eastern Canadian championship). The team also won the Lady Bessborough Trophy (given to Canadian Champions) six times.

The Rivulettes were invited to play games in 1939 in Europe, but were unable to due to the start of World War II. In 1963, the club was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.

LOHAEdit

The Preston Rivulettes would join the LOHA in January 1931. In their first season, the Rivulettes played the Port Dover Sailorettes in the LOHA quarterfinals. The Rivulettes would beat London in the semi-finals, and proceed to beat Pembroke in the LOHA Finals. [3]

In winter 1933, Lady Bessborough, the wife of Governor General of Canada Lord Bessborough donated a championship trophy for the Dominion Women’s Amateur Hockey Association.[4] The trophy would be contested between the Edmonton Rustlers and the Rivulettes.[5]

In the championship game, the Rivulettes were down by a score of 2-0. They came back to tie the game, but Hazel Case of the Rustlers scored the game winning goal. [6] In 1934, the Rivulettes were not able to raise the $1,800 to stage a rematch with the Rustlers. [7]

Although their early success would promote women’s hockey, by 1938, their later success would prove to be an organization challenge to the LOHA governing body. From 1931 to 1935, the Rivulettes were undefeated and won five consecutive provincial championships.[8]

Many ladies teams in Ontario did not want to join the LOHA because they felt they had no chance of winning. The Rivulettes success caused the number of member teams to decrease.[9] The decision was for the LOHA to create an A League and a B League. The B League would include first year teams, and teams that were not at a high skill level. LOHA president Bobbie Rosenfeld found it to be the only way to increase the number of member teams. [10]

Playoff controversiesEdit

  • During the 1936-37 season, the Calgary Avenue Grills (named after their sponsor, the Avenue Grill restaurant) were the provincial champions of Alberta. They were scheduled to play the Preston Rivulettes in March 1937 at Maple Leaf Gardens but were prevented to. The Dominion Women’s Amateur Hockey Association intervened and ask that the Avenue Grills ladies team join the DWAHA. When the Avenue Grills refused to, a ladies team from Winnipeg was chosen to play the Rivulettes. [11]

Due to the Great Depression, ice time became extremely rare, especially for women. In March 1938, the LOHA semi-final with the Preston Rivulettes and the Northern Marvels of Cobalt had to be rescheduled. The game was scheduled to be played in Preston, but the Ontario Hockey Association (men’s hockey association) forced a change in venue so that a men’s game could be played.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.cambridge.ca/cs_pubaccess/hall_of_fame.php?aid=40&cpid=33&scpid=0&did=0&sid=34&ssid=0&tp=0&grid=0
  2. http://www.hhof.com/html/wmspla03.shtml
  3. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.146, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  4. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.142, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  5. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.142, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  6. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.143, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  7. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.145, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  8. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.146, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  9. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.146, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  10. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.146, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  11. Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women's Hockey in Western Canada, Wayne Norton, p.108, Ronsdale Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-55380-073-6
  12. Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.143, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9

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