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When Brandon played for Lord Stanley’s Cup

Brandon Wheat Cities stanley cup Daly House Museum

Brandon Wheat Cities hockey team, 1904. Source: Daly House Museum

Brandon Wheat Cities was an early senior-level elite amateur ice hockey team that played from 1903 to 1923.

Based in Brandon, Manitoba the team played in the Manitoba & Northwestern Hockey Association, followed by the Manitoba Hockey Association and the early Manitoba Hockey League.

From 1893 to 1914 the Stanley Cup was a  “challenge trophy”.

Champions held onto the Cup until they either lost their league title to another club, or a champion from another league issued a formal challenge and defeated the reigning champion in a special game or series.

Before 1912, challenges could take place at any time, given the appropriate rink conditions.

It was common for teams to defend the Cup numerous times during the year.

In 1912, the Cup’s trustees declared that the Cup was only to be defended at the end of the champion team’s regular season. – Wikipedia

Wheat Cities Stanley Cup challenge, 1904


The winter of 1904 was one of the coldest on record and recurring blizzards whipped the snow into large drifts.

These tempestuous days did not affect the support for the Brandon local team who, on March 4, defeated the Rat Portage Aggregation to win the Manitoba and North West Championship and become Stanley Cup Challengers.

In the 1904 Cup Challenges, defending champion, Ottawa Hockey Club (aka Silver Seven), was on a roll.

NHL Playoff Game Scores in 1919 and earlier shows the Silver Sevens played the Manitoba Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Rowing Club in the January Cup Challenge and won the best-of-three series, 2-1.

In the February Cup Challenge the Toronto Marlboros tried to unseat the champions but Ottawa won both games, 6-3, and 11-2

On March 2, The Montreal Wanderers took Ottawa on in the March Cup Challenge but the series was awarded to Ottawa.

But Brandon Wheat Cities weren’t intimidated by the Silver Sevens’ prowess.

The team travelled to Ottawa to play the champions on March 9 and 11

On the train that took the contenders to Ottawa were Robert Cross, (Captain), J. Brodie, S. B. Lowes, William Hopper, D. Smith, H. Bright, L. Laidlaw, Lester Patrick, D. Morrison, H. Breton, F. Wheelan, and Mr. and Mrs. L. Hannay, in a special coach decorated with yellow streamers and bearing the legend “Wheat Cities Hockey Team.”

On arrival at Canada’s Capital, Brandon M.P. and Minister of the Interior, the Honourable Clifford Sifton, entertained the team.

They had only an hour of ice practice before meeting the Ottawa Cup holders.

The games were described as “fast, exciting, and blood thirsty hockey all the time. The Brandon Wheat Cities team are game, fast and brilliant, but team play is lacking.”

The Silver Seven won the two game series 6-3, 9-3 on March 9, and 11, at the Aberdeen Pavilion.

The Canadian Northern Telegraph summated, “Brandon lost, but gave Champion Ottawa the hottest kind of argument”.

The Stanley Cup loss did not diminish the boys’ heroic standing as the Wheat Cities team was welcomed back to Brandon by a large crowds gathered along Pacific and Rosser Avenues.

Stanley Cup Challenges were fast and furious

Eileen Trott, curator of the Daly House Museum, provides a further look at this exciting series:

The Winnipeg Telegram provided a spirited account of the game:

Brandon Gave Ottawa An Argument

Manitoba Champions Beaten by 6 to 3 After a Hard Fought Game. Brandons Surprise the Ottawa Team by the Form They Showed.

Special to the Telegram

OTTAWA, March 9. – Ottawa 6, Brandon 3. That just about represents the merits of the two teams that tonight at the Aberdeen Pavillion struggled for supremacy of the hockey world and the possession of the much coveted Stanley Cup, the outward and visible token of the enviable title.

It was a championship match: champion teams, a champion and impartial crowd and champion hockey.

The local fans were out in force, while many visitors to the capital took advantage of the occasion to witness a first class article of the great winter game.

They saw it, but it must be admitted that the champions can, and have often put up finer hockey than that of last night.

They did when the late lamented Marlboros turned out on their cup hunting exhibition, but the Brandon’s are away above the Toronto aggregation, when it comes to hockey, good, hard, give and take hockey, that the Ottawa’s for years have made their pet specialty.

In fact, the seven wearers of the white, red and black were made unwilling recipients, as were the two thousand spectators, of a great full grown surprise party in the quality of hockey that the Brandon’s are capable of playing.

For some reason the local fans had the impression that the visitors were easy but the game demonstrated that the Brandon’s are by far the best Western team yet seen on local ice.

A little light, very fast skaters, good stick-handlers, always ready to take a chance and possessed of speedy, effective and even dangerous combination, the prairie lads dug in right from the start and for a few minutes appeared to have the locals on the run.

They failed to stand the pace that the champions cut out and in the last half, the period that Ottawa has always set apart as its own, went all to bits and relying upon one and two men combinations sunk down to unwelcome defeat.

The locals found the cup hunters hard checks and for this reason could not cut loose with that spectacular dash that usually marks the work.

On the contrary, the goals scored were only secured after long and hard struggles in which the finer hockey and faster following back of the champions were bound to tell.

The visitors were defence players, but when the puck was theirs and their line was clear somehow they did not take the advantage.

They seldom passed Jim McGee, while when the Ottawa’s dug in only Morrison’s work and that of Hannay, who put in a splendid vigorous game, averted many certain scores.

The whole line backed into the goal and unless the first shot of the champions went in, the opening was blocked.

The defence sprung a novelty in clearing, making long, low shots instead of listing, as Ottawa crowds are used to seeing.

Hannay sent the puck the length of the rink in this style and once scored by this means, the rubber passing Pulford and Hutton like a streak.

The fast following up of McGee, Gilmour and Smith phased these puck shooters before they had risen. On general all round play the Ottawa’s deserved to win out.

Patrick and Hannay on the defence worked overtime, and will have good cause to remember their visit to Ottawa, not having spare time enough to look pleasant.

Hannay did a lot of slashing but no one was injured. Brodie, Smith, Laidlaw and Bright, were all but even up in stick handling with the champions, but failed to go in on the flags, shooting from far out and generally wide.

Bounce Hutton was in good form and the shots coming his way were nailed in gratifying style, while Pulford and J. McGee, never hard pressed, had ample time to relieve.

Both bodied well and used their heads to good advantage. Their lifting was not up to form. McGee shone on the line going through the buffaloe’s like a shadow.

Gilmour and Smith hung onto their checks like glue and were always on the puck, their checking being decidedly effective.

Westwick played his position to a nicety and had the passing wings always guessing.

The four shot to kill and their passing, while occasionally ragged, was quick and fast enough to fool the visitors’ defence right along.

Fred Chittick gave every satisfacation as referee. He was right on the spot when any rough work came up and no offenders got away from him.

A. Smith, Suddie Gilmour, Laidlaw, Frank McGee, Jim McGee, Hannay and Morrison were those penalized.

The play was hard but clean and the ice like flint.

Hannay scored the first game for Brandon, but McGee and Smith came back inside of ten minutes.

The half time score was 3 to 2 and Ottawa put in three more and Brandon one more  during the last period.



Probert Lasting Image


This jersey turned out amazing!
How many jerseys do you have hidden away that are just screaming to be seen?

A slice of cityscape

Hockey artist Weiming Zhao

Hockey under a prairie sky
Artist: Weiming Zhao


Red Jacket Bromley's Menswear

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Ryan Main, general manager, Pik•A•Dilly RV Centre

Ryan Main, general manager, Pik•A•Dilly RV Centre

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