87th Battalion Plays Montreal All-Stars
Montreal Daily Star
Monday, December 13, 1915
Transcribed by: Marj Kohli
On Saturday, 11 December, 1915 the 87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards hockey team played against an All-Star team made up from the two NHA (predecessor to the NHL)teams in Montreal, the Canadiens and the Wanderers. The account of the game is poorly preserved; the paper very difficult to make out. If anyone can help fill in the missing details, please contact marc@canadianGreatWarProject.com
Grenadiers In Match Against The Best Pros
Grimness of War Emphasized by Inability of Five Hundred Comrades to Come
and See Hockey Struggle Which Was Well Attended
It was war night at the Arena
The band played martial tunes, the boxes contained fine-looking young
officers in khaki, and privates and non-coms mingled everywhere with the
crowd that had come to honor the Grenadier Guards' hockey team.
Military hockey in Toronto is a common thing. Here it was a novelty.
How war changes the look of all things was never more forcibly illustrated
than by the general appearance of the vast apmhitheatre [sic].
There have been military nights at the Arena before, but then the boxes and
seats and promenade were riotous with color, with scarlet and blue and
yards upon yards of gold braid.
Saturday evening the aspect of the crowd was sober and serious, even a
little grim, and about the only splotches of color noticeable were provided
by the jerseys of the professional players, the coat sweaters of the
Canadiens especially making their bench on the west side of the rink look
from a distance like a bed of giant poppies.
A Grim Reminder
Probably the grimmest reminder of the war was the absence of the five
hundred Grenadiers which it had been expected would have come by special
train from the St. Johns barracks to cheer on their comrades in their trial
of strength against the best professionals in the country.
"Everything was prepared," said Capt. Gordon Lewis, who has worked hard to
make the match a success as far as the soldiers were concerned, and who
himself was one of the greatest amateur hockey goal-keepers Canada could
ever boast of, "when a sudden order came to have the men inoculated at once
against typhoid. That stopped everything. A few were held over and
permitted leave to come here tonight, but tomorrow they, the hockey team,
and ourselves will all have to submit to the scalpel."
More Pleasant Features
War's reminders were not all grim, however.
There was, for instance, the tall young officer with the slight limp due to
a shrapnel wound in the leg, who has but just returned on leave from the
trenches, the object of joyful greetings from his many friends and the
admiring glances of many a charming lady in furs, and the enthusiastic
backer of the soldier team who, whenever the latter scored a goal, happily
shouted himself hoarse and at the same time waved a German helmet sent him
by some soldier friend at the front, above his head. And then there were
the friendly smiling faces of the Arena people, who from President Shepperd
and Secretary Northey[?] down to the ushers and humblest sweeper had given
their services and the rink free, as Knowles Band did its music, the
Westmount police their guardianship, and the officials theirs.
And last but not least the jovial beaming faces of President T. Emmett
Quinn of the N.H.A., who really originated the entertainment and of the
president and managing director of the Wanderers and Canadien Clubs
respectively, pleased at combining a good work with a useful workout for
Suddenly judge-of-play Cooper Smeaton who belongs to the McGill Battalion
and had as his superior officer that veteran arbiter Johnny ????man, blew
The British Grenadiers
The band played that ever-inspiring, good old military tune, "The British
Grenadiers," and General Meighen, commanding the Guards, who before the war
was noted as one of the most daring polo players in the Dominion, faced the
The battle was on.
That it would be an unequal one no one had doubted; that the Guards made as
good a showing as they did, was a pleasant surprise.
Were they not going to fight for the good of Canada, Britain and the whole
world soon, somewhere in France, the Balkans or perhaps close to Suez,
several of them no doubt would have received flattering offers right then
and there to join the professional ranks.
Anomalous as it may seem, the weak point of the soldiers was their
shooting, not that it was not of the straight and hard quality, but that
they waited too long, a fault one may be sure that won't be theirs once
they play the greater game when the rifle replaces the hockey stick.
Two New Players
Though somewhat one-sided during the first two periods, the match from a
mere hockey standpoint was by no means uninteresting, and served to
introduce to the crowd to "Skinner" Poulin, who has just joined the
Canadiens, Lindsay, who is now with the Wanderers.
The professionals played no favorourites and showed the soldiers in the
neat khaki suits and sweaters no mercy as one or two minor accidents went
to prove. What is more they constantly brought on reinforcement and almost
every man now signed on by the two local clubs will be able to have the
pleasant memory of having stood up against the Guards. And this will serve
to make men used to frantic outbursts of abuse forget the slightly dismal
experience of having their best efforts passed over Saturday by a crowed
which really had no eyes except for the soldiers and reserved every bit of
breath, every ounce of lung power and every handclap for them alone.
In the second period there was a new professional on the soldier team.
Vezina in Khaki
At first few recognized him in his khaki Jersey, but finally the crowd
became aware that it was Vezina who had been lent by the Canadiens to
replace Cormack who had been disabled.
"When did you join?" a man on the promenade just behind the net asked him.
"Tonight," replied The Man From Chicoutimi who if anything is extremely
laconic. And then he evidently fell to dreaming of the trenches for he let
two easy shots go past him in quicker time than his predecessor had allowed
during any part of the first period. Towards the end of that period Jim
O'Loughlin, who acted as Umpire behind him gave a very close decision. He
was right as he usually is and the puck was just inside of the western bar
of the net though one of the guardsmen thought it was not; complained and,
then skated away.
They were Good Sports
Which shows what good sports they are, said Charley Cameron, once a great
amateur runner, and well known in connection with Horseshow and Arena
affairs, who himself also has acted many times as umpire.
"If that had been another team they would have insisted upon haaving the
umpire removed whether he were right or wrong."
Good sport, in fact, was the keynote of the night's entertainment. It
pervaded everything, and many a man and woman, thanks to it, will remember
the evening therefore with a little throb of affection when later on, the
cable brings the news that the Grenadier Guards of Canada have been under
The newly proposed free shot rule was well tried out, but found to be
The following is the way the goals were scored:
Total for period Guards 1, All-Stars 4
8. All-Stars..... quette...????
11. All-Stars..... quette...??
Total Guards 2 All-Stars 9
Final total Guards 5 All-Stars 10
Ekers ? minutes; O'Hara ? minutes; Poulin ? minutes.
The Line Up
The following is the way the teams lined up and the changes made during the
The changes made:
Second period: The All-Stars used Lindsay, McNamara, Stephens, Arbour,
Berhnquette and Ulrick. Vezina _____ was the only change made by the Guards.
Third period: The All-Stars used Major, P____dgers, Stephens, O'Grady,
Ulrich and Fournier. The only changes made by the Guards wee Wood at point
and Brown on the line to relieve the other players.