a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Monday, 18 July 2011

07/19/11 54.0 Edmonton Eskimos Hockey

Edmonton Eskimos Hockey Players 1926

The strapping young gents pictured above are members of Edmonton's first professional hockey team: the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos challenged three times for the Stanley Cup, but they never were able to bring it home. Twice they played against Ottawa and one time against Montreal's team, the Wanderers. It's an interesting bit of history that not many Edmonton hockey fans may be aware of. There was a team from Edmonton playing for the Stanley Cup 71 years before the Oilers joined the NHL.

Hockey Hall of Famer Eddie Shore played for the Eskimos in 1926, where he was nicknamed the "Edmonton Express" before being sold to the Boston Bruins later that same year. Hall of Famers Lester Patrick, Dieder Pitre and Tommy Phillips are also alumns of the Eskimos Hockey Club from all those years ago.

Lester Patrick as a Ranger
 In 1908 the Stanley Cup Final - so to speak - was a two game series. The reigning champion Montreal Wanderers were challenged by the champions of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association - the Eskimos. The Wanderers won game one by a score of 7-3, but Edmonton managed to win the second game 7-6. However, in the event of a tie the series was decided by total goals scored and the Wanderers defended the Stanley Cup by an overall score of 13-10.

Edmonton lost both games in 1910 to Ottawa by scores of 8-4 and 13-7.

In the 1923 Stanley Cup Final, the Eskimos outshot Ottawa in the two games of the best of three series by a margin of 68-48, but it wasn't to be. Hall of Famer King Clancy played all six positions in game two for Ottawa including goal when the Senators' goaltender was called for a penalty and had to serve it; as per the rules of the day. The Senators won both games by scores of 2-1 in overtime and 1-0 in game two. Hall of Fame goaltender (and the first to ever wear facial protection for five games) Clint Benedict put on a clinic for Ottawa in the crease.


The modern day Edmonton Eskimos are off to a magnificent 3-0 start to the season, which feels like a harbinger of things to come for the city of Edmonton. Over the last several seasons it's been hard to be a sports fan in this city. It's still early, and we're all too aware of how quickly our hopes could be dashed, but it's beginning to feel like the turnaround has begun. During one glorious period in the 1980's and early 90's, the Oilers and Eskimos were lighting up their respective leagues, and the first whispers that it could happen all over again have started to gain in volume.

The Eskimos Hockey Club may not have ever won the Stanley Cup, but they were champions of their league and started a tradition of winning sports that hasn't left in all the years since. The winning ways may have been buried, but they most certainly aren't gone.

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