Rossland’s first ladies ice hockey team will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame on May 31 in Vancouver.
The 1900-18 Rossland Ladies Ice Hockey team will be inducted under the Pioneer category during the 2018 induction ceremony, and Marilyn Buchannon, daughter of one of the rookie players, is thrilled to see her mother and her mother’s team honoured in this way.
“I’m ecstatic about that because they were inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame [in 2014] in Penticton and I attended that too,” says Buchannon.
“I think it’s wonderful for her [Buchannon’s mother] and her team,” she adds.
Buchannon’s mother, Grace Lougheed, was born in Rossland in 1898 and was a rookie on the team at 14 years old in 1912.
“She probably played on the team until, I would say, 1917 or ’18,” says Buchannon.
Lougheed left the team when she headed to the coast to become a teacher.
The other players on the team being inducted are Eva Blackman, Hazel Blackman, Mrs. Daly (patroness), Reba Demuth, Helen Falding, Miss Harris, Alice Hender, Miss Herchmer, Miss Honey, Miss Inches, Miss B. Inches, Madge Keating, Tessie McDonald, Miss McFarland, Miss Ruff and Ethel Stephens.
“It’s the province’s highest honour in terms of sport,” says Jason Beck, curator and facility director for the BC Sports Hall of Fame, of being inducted. “It really is the best of the very best that have competed in any sport that are either from B.C. or competed here in B.C.”
Beck explains that the Pioneer category “honours individuals or teams that have in some way pioneered some aspect of the sport, have trail-blazed, have led the way in some way.”
“For the Rossland team it was a fairly obvious pioneering story,” he adds. “They’re one of the first women’s ice hockey teams of any kind in B.C. and certainly the first that was the most successful for a long period.”
The team was formed on Feb. 2, 1900, according to Wayne Norton, author of Women on Ice: The Early Year’s of Women’s Hockey in Western Canada, and faced Nelson in a match at the Rossland Winter Carnival that same year.
Norton also reports that the Rossland team was “rarely if ever defeated” until Grand Forks beat them in the West Kootenay championship in 1917.
“She [Lougheed] did say that they had a very strong team and that the only competition that they could get, really, was from the Nelson boys’ team, because the girls in those other places were not very strong,” says Buchannon.
“We’re going to go back, do more research, verify as much as we can, but as far as we can tell [they didn’t lose a game in 17 years],” says Beck.
The BC Sports Hall of Fame is also looking for help from Rosslanders to help strengthen the exhibit.
“We found one relative of one of the team members, but we’re looking for more. So if there’s anyone in town that had a grandmother or a mother or an aunt, a sister that played on the team, have them get in touch with us,” says Beck.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“And the other thing we’re looking for is any information, photos. I doubt that there’s much out there, but if there’s artifacts or memorabilia, we’d be very interested to even borrow the items on loan for a display on the team,” says Beck.
Every inductee is honoured with a year-long display in the Hall of Fame’s Hall of Champions.
“And as of right now, other than a few scans of photos, I don’t have anything on that team,” says Beck. “And considering the period they played in, it may be very tough to find any artifacts or memorabilia, but you never know.”
The 1900-18 Rossland Ladies Ice Hockey Team was nominated for induction by Chad Soon of Vernon.