Stanley Cup Champions 1907
January – March 1907 Stanley Cup Champions.
William George "Billy" McGimsie, Rocque Francis "Roxy" Beaudro, Thomas Neil "Tommy" Phillips, Edward Joseph "Eddie" Giroux, Charles Thomas "Tom" Hooper, Silas Seth "Sox" Griffis, Arthur Howey "Art" Ross, Joseph Henry "Bad Joe" Hall, Russell Frederick Phillips.
Coach - James Arthur Link
Manager - Frederick A Hudson
President - Lowrey Johnson
Secretary / Treasurer - John F. MacGillivray
After the Montreal Wanderers had defeated the Ottawa Senators at the end of the 1906 season and had captured the Stanley Cup, it was too late in the season to face the western champions. Thus it was decided by the Cup Trustees that Montreal would face the Kenora Thistles (previously known as the Rat Portage Thistles) in a two-game, total-goal series midway through the ECAHA season.
Two future Hockey Hall of Famers, Art Ross and "Bad" Joe Hall were added to the Thistles roster from Brandon, although Joe Hall did not play.
On January 17, 1907 in a packed house of nearly 8000 at the Westmount Arena, a suburb of Montreal the game was knotted at two during halftime, before Tom Phillips, who had scored the previous goals for Kenora, potted two more for a 4-2 upset victory.
Game two on January 21, 1907 was a physical affair with the Wanderers attempting to slow down their speedy opponents. Drawing 55 minutes in penalties, compared to the Thistles' 30, the Wanderers were not ready to concede. Even after the Thistles made it 6-2, Montreal refused to quit and rallied back, tying the game up at 6-6 with two minutes remaining. However, Kenora responded by scoring two quick goals for the win, and Kenora became the smallest town (population 4,000) to capture the Stanley Cup, with an 8-6 victory - a distinction it still holds today.
Kenora engraved their name inside the bowl of the Stanley Cup. 1907 Thistles of Kenora.
Kenora would play and win the Manitoba Professional Hockey League - MPHL - playoffs against the Brandon Wheat City to successfully defend the Cup, winning a best-of-three series 2–0. The first game was played on March 16, 1907 with the Thistles winning 8 to 6. Game 2 was played on March 18, 1907 with the Thistles again winning with a score of 4 to 1.
The Kenora Thistles reign as Stanley Cup champions would be a short one - a mere 63 days in fact.
In late March of 1907, the Wanderers challenged the Thistles with a rematch, this time closer to Kenora turf, at the Winnipeg arena. Minus Art Ross, the Thistles didn't measure as well. Having added Fred Whitcroft, Alf Smith and Harry Westwick from Ottawa under Wanderers protests, Kenora still lost by a total score of 12-8.
Having lost the first match 7-2 on March 23, 1907, the Thistles needed to outscore the Wanderers by six in the second game on March 25, and fell short winning by a 6-5 margin.
Prior to 1905, Kenora was actually known as Rat Portage and at the time, the small town was best known for its abundance of natural resources such as lumbering, fishing, and gold mining. However, by 1907 Kenora would be immortalized on one of the most iconic and treasured trophies in all of sports - The Stanley Cup.
In the early 1890's, an amateur Senior Hockey Club was formed in Rat Portage and a contest to name the team was held. The winning entry came from a Scottish carpenter named Bill Dunsmore, who submitted the nickname along with a drawing of a thistle for the team logo.