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Olympic Hockey – The Early Years Trivia
Disguised as a winter sports event, the first World Championship games were a demonstration event at the 1920 Summer Olympics. One stipulation was that, if hockey was played, figure skating had to be included. Sweden shut out the host Belgian team 8 – 0 on April 23, 1920 in Antwerp in match 1. Bill Hewitt refereed the first hockey game. Kristmundur “Chris” Fridfinnson scored the goal that gave Canada its first Olympic gold medal. Einar Svenson scored the first goal against Canada in Olympic competition. Taking a 3 – 0 lead, Svenson scored for the Swedes at 15:58 of the first half. It should be noted that the first Olympic hockey games were divided into halves of 2 to 20 minutes.
MEDALS: GOLD – CANADA… Silver – United States… Bronze – Czechoslovakia
1924: The 1924 Winter Olympics, officially known as the First Olympic Winter Games, are held in Chamonix, France. Originally called Semaine des Sports d’Hiver “International Winter Sports Week” and organized in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics, the sports competitions took place at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, between January 25 and February 5. Harry Watson played 5 matches and scored a hat trick in each contest. After a quick start, Harry scored totals of 11, 13 and 6 goals – 3 games in three days. After a day off, Watson scored hat tricks against Great Britain and the United States in medal competition. Still a total goals record… 36 goals for the tournament. Canada split 17 hat tricks between 4 players. After representing the United States at the 1924 Olympics, Al “Frenchy” Lacroix became George Vézina’s backup with the Canadiens. Lacroix replaced Vézina during the 1925-26 season. Alphonse Albert Lacroix is from Newton, Massachusetts.
MEDALS: GOLD – CANADA… Silver – USA… Bronze – Great Britain
1928: At the 1928 Olympics, Canadian gold medalists completely “whitewash” the opposition. Represented by University of Toronto graduates, Canada have shut out European opposition three times in a row. Due to their well-known superiority, Canada was automatically “bye” in the medal round. They won the gold by shutting out Sweden 11 – 0, Great Britain 14 – 0 and Switzerland 13 – 0. Dr. Joe Sullivan recorded the shutouts in games #1 and #3. “Stuffy” Mueller blanked Britain. Future Montreal Maroons teammates Hugh Plaxton and Dave Trottier led the Canadian tally with 12 goals each. Although he was not behind the bench, Conn Smythe was awarded a gold medal at the 1928 Olympics. Two of the Canadian players, Hugh Plaxton and Joe Sullivan, lobbied to have loved ones on the team. 1928 Olympic team. Smythe disagreed. Frank Sullivan, Roger and Bert Plaxton were added. The players have won the fight. They went for the gold. Conn Smythe stayed home. Manager Bill Hewitt was left in charge of the Canadian team.
MEDALS: GOLD – CANADA… Silver – Sweden… Bronze – Switzerland
1932: The rules concerning the amateur status of players participating in Olympic tournaments are very strict. Once again, the US Olympic Committee broke the rules of the amateur against the professional in 1932. Prior to the Lake Placid games, the US team faced the Boston Bruins. The US Olympic team received receipts for the game. The Americans claimed they could not afford to go to the games if they did not accept the revenue. The Canadians refused to lodge a protest. The opening showdown of the 1932 Olympic match between Canada and the United States was delayed. Prior to the action, American goalie Frank Farrell had tied his goalie pads so tightly that they were within the legal width. When the goalie’s knees were together, the pads could not be wider than 20 inches. The two-referee system was accepted. Only two men officiated all the competitions… Lou Marsh from Canada and Don Sands from the United States. The tournament was a series of double round robin tournaments. The teams played periods of 3 to 15 minutes.
MEDALS: GOLD – CANADA… Silver – USA… Bronze – Germany
1936: The Port Arthur Bearcats are chosen by default as Canada’s representatives in the 1936 Olympics. The usual procedure was that the Allan Cup champions of previous years would be Canada’s team of choice. However, the 1935 Halifax Wolverines lost most of their best players after their Allan Cup victory. Unable to assemble a competitive team, the Olympic committee chose the Bearcats runner-up. Canada’s Olympic streak reached 20 before suffering its first loss. After 3 wins in Group “A”, the Canadian team was overthrown by Great Britain 2 to 1. Feb. 10, 1936 – Chirp Brenchley scored the winner at 13:48 of the third period. Carl Erhardt was the oldest player to win an Olympic gold medal in hockey. Born on February 15, 1897, Erhardt was captain of the 1936 Olympic champions. Carl was 39 at the time.
MEDALS: GOLD – GREAT BRITAIN… Silver – Canada… Bronze – USA
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