Trip to Quebec - 1913 Stanley Cup Challenge

  • Posted on: 29 December 2014
  • By: lrigby

Monday, March 3rd, 1913 was a bitter-sweet day for the residents of Sydney.  On one hand, they were sending their beloved Millionaires off on a journey to hopefully bring the Stanley Cup to Cape Breton.  On the other hand, many of their popular import players were leaving the city to return to their home towns immediately after the games in Quebec.  Players who were not returning to Sydney after the Stanley Cup challenge included Jack Fraser and Gordon Trenouthe, who were heading back to Brandon, Manitoba where they had jobs working for the Canadian National Railroad.  Cap MacDonald, Ken Randall and Percy Tighte were returning to Ontario and Joe Tetrault was heading back to Sherbrook Quebec. 

A large group of Sydney fans gathered at Sydney's Intercolonial Railway station to say their farewells to the team.  The team departed from the station heading to Halifax for Tuesday night's exhibition game against the Socials at the Halifax Arena before heading on to Quebec for their first of two Stanley Cup matches commencing on Saturday, March 8th.  They left in a ICR railway car decorated with the Millionaires team colours. 

Good news came on March 4 in a telegram from President Lithgow.  According to the telegram, the President had denied the Moncton protest declaring that Sydney had "won the Crosby Cup fair and square".  President Lithgow went on to explain some of his unpopular decisions during the 1913 season.  He claimed that, as President, his role is to only vote when breaking a tie on the league executive.  He stated that "he has worked hard and objects to that portion of the public who do not know the inside history of the five clubs, and not knowing the rules criticizes him."

From all accounts, the March 4th exhibition game between the Halifax Socials and the Sydney Millionaires was a disaster for the Millionaires.  The score at the end of the exhibition game was thirteen to one for the Halifax Socials.  Toby McDonald, Sydney's goalie, was injured during the game and if Toby was unable to play for Sydney on Saturday, the Millionaires would not stand a chance against the high scoring Bulldogs. Billy Dunphy was also removed from the game for fighting with Socials player Ras Murphy. Most fans of the Millionaires were not upset at this lopsided victory, they saw this game as a warm up exhibition and assumed that Sydney's players were not giving their all during the play but this did give some ammunition for the Moncton and New Glasgow fans who were already complaining that Sydney was not the best team in the MPHA and should not be representing the league in the Stanley Cup challenge.

            Thirteen One's an awful smash

                        After getting first position;

            But the home boys didn't play for cash,-

                        'Twas just a side show exhibition.

                                    - Otto B. Kilde.

The team departed from Halifax's ICR railway station on the morning of March 5th.  Accompanying the players was Manager Hugh Maclean, Millionaires' President  J.J. Curry, Secretary-Treasurer C.B. Ross and MPHA President J.C. Lithgow who was brought along at the invitation of the Sydney Millionaires Hockey Club.  There was also talk that New Glasgow's goalie Frank Morrison would accompany the team in the event that Toby MacDonald would not recover in time for the game.  The team management decided for better or worse not to bring along the Cub's goaltender.

The train car made a bit of a stir as it travelled through the Maritimes toward its destination in Quebec.  Some of the towns such as Amherst wished  the Millionaires well stating in their paper that citizens of Amherst would be supporting any maritime team to bring the Stanley Cup home to the east.  However the passing Millionaires train car did not evoke that type of support in Moncton.  This was evident in an article commemorating the event in the Moncton Transcript.

The Sydney hockey rough house team so-called champions of the MPHA passed through the city this afternoon on the Ocean Limited bound for Quebec where they are scheduled to take a bad drubbing at the hands of the world's champions.  The Iron City aggregation had a private car all of their own which was decorated with the colors of the club, doubtless to let the people along the line know that the "butcher boys" were bound for Quebec.  What Quebec will do with the so-called champions is a shame and will tend to give the impression that a pretty poor class of hockey is dished up in these provinces by the sea

            Pray for the Millionaires, pray hard,

                        by heck!

            As they find their weary way to


            Not that the Stanley Cup they may


            But that they get by Moncton with a           

                        whole skin.


                                                -Otto B. Kilde