61st Overseas Battalion Hockey Team
Allan Cup Champions 1916
Winnipeg Patriotic League Champions 1915-16
Front Row L to R - Bobby Morrison (460378 Pte Reeve Wilson Morrison), Johnny Mitchell (461305 Pte John Clark Mitchell), Joe Simpson (460854 Cpl Harold Edward Simpson), Alf Morrison (460787 Pte David Alfred Morrison), Lt. Col. Francis John Murray, Crutchy Morrison (461170 Pte John William Morrison), Koddy Smith (460853 Pte Roderick Angus Smith), Jocko Anderson (229334 Sgt John Wilberforce Anderson), Alex Romeril (461294 Pte Alexander Edward Romeril).
Back Row - Lt. Joseph Douglas Moulden, Lt. James Albert Clark (manager), Spunk Sparrow (460184 Pte Emory William Sparrow), Major Neil Bruce MacLean, Capt. William Alexander Simpson (secretary-treasurer).
The 61st Overseas Battalion was raised in Winnipeg in 1915. While gathering more recruits and training, the unit put together a Hockey team and began to play in the Winnipeg Patriotic League in the fall of 1915. The team progressed to the finals of this league, where they played the Winnipeg Monarchs who were the Allan Cup holders to a 2 game total goal series, winning game one 5-3 on February 24, losing game two 7-6 on February 28 and winning the series 11-10 on total goals, being awarded the 1916 Allan Cup championship.
The 61st Overseas Battalion then received 3 challenges from other teams.
1st challenge on March 2 from Winnipeg Victorias, a 5-3 win for 61st Overseas Battalion, who also won the Winnipeg Patriotic League championship with this victory.
2nd challenge from Fort William who were Thunder Bay Senior champions in a 2 games total goal series. March 11 a 4-1 Battalion win and March 13 a 5-4 Fort William win, but a 8-6 total goals win for 61st Overseas Battalion.
3rd challenge from Regina Victorias who were the Saskatchewan senior champions in a 2 games total goal series. The 61st Overseas Battalion won games on March 16 (5-1) and March 18 (8-2) in a 13-3 total goals win.
After the war Jocko Anderson would win a Stanley Cup with the Victoria Cougars in 1925.
Four members of the battalion team would eventually make it to the National Hockey League / NHL including John 'Crutchy' Morrison, Emery 'Spunk' Sparrow. The fourth was the great 'Bullet Joe' Simpson; he played six years for the New York Americans, won a Stanley Cup with the Americans and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
During the war Joe Simpson was wounded twice while serving at the Western Front with the 43rd Battalion CEF and was awarded a Military Medal for gallantry
Two members of the Hockey team did not survive the war. Lt William Alexander Simpson was killed during the 8th Battalion's attack on Hill 70 15 August 1917. His body was not recovered; he is remembered on Canada's memorial at Vimy Ridge, France. Pte David Alfred Morrison was killed 6 November 1917 during the 31st Battalion's attack on Passchendaele village. His body was also not recovered and he is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium.