Prairie Post

Today, in the past: The Kenora Thistles

Today, in the past is a weekly look at a significant event, mostly Canadian but sometimes otherwise, that has taken place on a specific day. This day.

A long, long time ago, there was a place known as Rat Portage (ew). A lot of the local economy relied on logging, mining, and fishing. It was small. THEN, in 1905, they changed their name to what we now know it as: KENORA (or K-Town, if you do that sort of thing).

But that’s not totally what this is about. Did you know that the Kenora Thistles won the 1907 Stanley Cup? Probably not. But they did. They swept the Montreal Wanderers in two (??) games to bring the cup back on down to K-Town.

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A bunch of the locals, in a scenario that must’ve been just like the plot of Mystery, Alaska, put together a rag-tag team of good ‘ol boys to challenge the surely snobby Montreal Wanderers, and they pulled it off. But wait, they had some help from ringers Eddie Giroux (who died right here in Winnipeg!), Bad Joe Hall (former Wheat King!), and Art Ross (he’s got an NHL trophy named after him).

This was great and all for Kenora, but they had barely suckled at the champagne teet of Lord Stanley’s Cup before the Wanderers challenged them to a rematch two months later and won hockey’s Holy Grail back. Because in 1907, hockey was crazy, I guess.

If you’re a resident of Kenora, I’m assuming you know this because there’s likely a parade every year or something. But if you’re not, well, you can bring it up at the bar now that NHL hockey is back!

Matt Williams is a Winnipeg-based writer and musician. Follow him on Twitter @WaterInHell .

For more, follow @SpectatorTrib on Twitter.