|Competitor for Canada|
|Men's ice hockey|
|Olympic Games/World Championship|
The Port Arthur Bearcats (Bear Cats) were a senior amateur ice hockey team based in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada – now part of the city of Thunder Bay – from the early 1900s until 1970. Before settling on the nickname of Bearcats, the Port Arthur team played several seasons with unofficial generic names applied by fans and sportswriters, such as the Port Arthur Ports, Port Arthur Hockey Club, and the Port Arthur Seniors.
History[edit | edit source]
By 1915 the Port Arthur was playing in the Thunder Bay Senior A Hockey League (TBSHL). Port Arthur is located in western portion of Ontario, the Bearcats found it convenient to play in the Manitoba Senior A Hockey League (MSHL, MTBSHL) at various times during its history. The Bearcats have also played seasons in the Port Arthur Senior Hockey League (PSHL) and the International Amateur Hockey League (IAHL).
The Bearcats were amongst the best Senior-A teams in Canada, playing in the national Allan Cup championship finals seven times from 1925 through 1942, winning the 1925, 1926, 1929 and 1939 Allan Cup championships. During years that the Allan Cup was an East versus West competition, the Bearcats played as the representative from Western Canada.
After the 1935 Allan Cup champion Halifax Wolverines disbanded, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) chose the runnerup Bearcats to be Canada's representative at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The Bearcats won the silver medal for Canada. The team remained on an exhibition tour in Europe after the Olympics and returned late to Canada. CAHA president E. A. Gilroy upheld the ruling by W. G. Hardy to exclude the team from the 1936 Allan Cup playoffs.
The Bearcats were chosen to represent Canada at the 1940 Winter Olympics, and CAHA vice-president Frank Sargent was placed in charge of the upcoming tour of Europe. The CAHA approved $5,000 towards travel expenses, and the team would receive any profits from exhibition games played while in Europe. The Bearcats requested a guarantee from the CAHA against financial loss, and Sargent expected a meeting to decide on the travel demands. The 1940 Winter Olympics were ultimately cancelled after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939.
The team suspended operation in 1943 and 1944, due to World War II. The Bearcats returned in the 1945–46 season, continuing operation until the merger of the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William, with the Fort William Beavers joining the Bearcats to form the Thunder Bay Twins for the 1970–71 season. This new iteration would appear in six more Allan Cup finals, including five Allan Cup wins. This team folded after finishing as runner-up in the 1991 Allan Cup.
The Bearcats and the successor Twins combined for 13 Allan Cup competitions, winning a combined 9 championships.
The 1936 Olympic silver medalist Bearcats team was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
In the winter of 1961–62, the Bearcats represented Canada in a European exhibition game tour, facilitated by Fred Page.
Notable Players[edit | edit source]
1936 Olympic Team Roster[edit | edit source]
- Gus Saxberg
- Maxwell Deacon
- Hugh Farguharson
- Kenneth Farmer-Horn
- James Haggarty
- Walter Kitchen
- Raymond Milton
- Francis Moore
- Herman Murray
- Arthur Nash
- David Neville
- Alexander Sinclair
- Ralph St. Germain
- Bill Thomson
NHL Alumni[edit | edit source]
- Cliff Barton, Bart Bradley, Bill Brydge, Marty Burke, Harry Cameron, Eddie Carpenter, Lorne Chabot, Art Chapman, Bob Connors, Danny Cox, Jimmy Creighton, Gus Forslund, Gord Fraser, Alex Gray, Jim Haggarty, Steve Hrymnak, James Jarvis, Dick Kotanen, Edgar Laprade, Norm Larson, Jim McLeod, Rudy Migay, Frank Nighbor, Bud Poile, Albert Pudas, Charlie Sands, Red Spooner, Butch Stahan, Bill Thomson, Jack Walker, Alex Wellington, Gord Wilson, Steve Wojciechowski, Benny Woit
Season-by-Season Record[edit | edit source]
|1916–17 to 1921–22||Statistics Not Available|
|1924–25||19||12||7||0||-||--||--||24||2nd MTBSHL, Allan Cup champion|
|1925–26||20||14||6||0||-||--||--||28||1st TBSHL, Allan Cup champion|
|1928–29||18||12||6||1||-||--||--||25||2nd MTBSHL, Allan Cup champion|
|1929–30||22||16||6||0||-||--||--||25||1st TBSHL, Allan Cup runnerup|
|1934–35||21||11||9||1||-||--||--||23||2nd TBSHL, Allan Cup runnerup|
|1935–36||8||7||1||0||-||54||7||14||Silver Medal, 1936 Olympics|
|1936–37||Statistics Not Available from IAHL season|
|1938–39||23||14||6||3||-||--||--||31||1st TBSHL, Allan Cup champion|
|1940–41||Statistics Not Available|
|1941–42||17||14||3||0||-||101||51||28||1st TBSHL, Allan Cup runnerup|
|1943–44||Folded due to WW2|
|1944–45||Folded due to WW2|
|1948–49 to 1950–51||No Regular Season|
|1958–59 to 1959–60||No Regular Season|
Gallery[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- "Stanley Cup remains in Ottawa – Port Arthur beaten by 13 to 4" Ottawa Citizen. Mar. 17, 1911 (pg. 8). Retrieved 2020-07-24.
- Canada at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games
- "No Place For Bear Cats In Playoffs, Says Gilroy", March 20, 1936, p. 14. Free to read
- "Port Arthur Is Refused Play-off Berth In Finals", March 20, 1936, p. 15. Free to read
- "Port Arthur Hockeyists Honored", May 1, 1939, p. 15. Free to read
- "C.A.H.A. Will Spend $5,000 To Send Ports To Olympics", June 26, 1939, p. 13. Free to read
- "'Cats Have New Proposal", July 8, 1939, p. 32. Free to read
- Edwards, Charlie. "Western Sports Corral", August 12, 1939, p. 18. Free to read
- Brockell, Gillian (March 24, 2020). The 1940 Tokyo Olympics were disrupted as World War II loomed. The Washington Post.
- Past Winners of the Allan Cup. Retrieved on 28 May 2020.
- Jakie Nash. Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 2016-12-03. Retrieved on 2018-12-26.
- "Lee Fogolin and His 'Cats Solid But Unspectacular", December 8, 1961, p. 9. Free to read
- Port Arthur Bearcats alumni search
- Port Arthur Bear Cats alumni search
- Port Arthur Ports alumni search
- Port Arthur Hockey Club alumni search
- Port Arthur Seniors alumni search
- Port Arthur Bearcats (revival) alumni search
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