Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Donald "Dan" Bain, born on this date in 1874, grew up not only playing hockey, but also was active in roller skating, lacrosse, gymnastics, figure skating, golf, cycling and shooting among his many other pursuits. At the age of 13, Bain became the roller skating champion of Manitoba after winning a three mile long race and later became a gymnastics champion at 17 and a his first of three consecutive Manitoba cycling championships came at the age of 20.
His hockey career began when he answered a newspaper ad placed by the local Winnipeg Victorias in 1895 when Bain was 21. After just five minutes of play, using a broken stick held together with wire no less, Bain had impressed the club enough to be added to the club, who found a place for his undeniable athletic skills at center.
The Victorias had been formed in 1889 and joined the Manitoba Hockey Association for it's inaugural season in 1892, immediately proving to be the dominant club in the league, as they won the championship 11 consecutive seasons from 1893 to 1902, which sounds impressive until you consider that the MHA consisted of just two clubs, the Victorias and the Winnipeg Hockey Club, from 1895 to 1904!
Still, having defeated the Winnipeg HC for the championship in 1896 earned the Victorias the right as league champions to challenge the Montreal Victorias for the now two year old Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, now better known as the Stanley Cup.
The challenge consisted of a single, winner take all game, played at the historic Victoria Rink in Montreal, home of the first organized game of hockey in 1875. Yes, the Victorias faced off against the Victorias at the Victoria Rink, such was the adoration in Canada for the ruling Queen Victoria.
Winnipeg scored twice in the first half on goals by Bain and Colin "Tote" Campbel. They played a defensive style during the second half and goalkeeper George Merritt held Montreal off the scoreboard as Winnipeg became the first team from outside of Montreal to take possession the Stanley Cup. With Bain's goal coming first, it went into the record books as the cup winner, scored on this date in 1896, Bain's 21st birthday.
The club returned home to a hero's welcome when their train, decorated with hockey sticks and a Union Jack flag, arrived at the station where their adoring fans treated them to a parade in open sleighs and a feast in their honor.
The Stanley Cup winning 1896 Winnipeg Victorias
Bain and the Victorias retained their ownership of the cup two weeks later when they once again became the MHA season champions, as the cup in those days traditionally passed to the champion of the league that the current cup holders were members of.
Ten months later, the Montreal Victorias traveled to Winnipeg for a rematch and reclaimed the cup by a score of 6-5 despite Bain having scored twice for Winnipeg.
Bain eventually rose to the role of team captain and coach for the Victorias, who participated in additional Stanley Cup challenges in February of 1899, losing 5 goals to 3 over two games with the Montreal Victorias once again in front of a record crowd of 7,000, and in February of 1900, losing 2 games to 1 to the Montreal Shamrocks with Bain scoring twice in Game 1, a 4-3 win by Winnipeg, and twice again in a 5-4 loss in the deciding Game 3. In all, Bain scored four of the Victorias 10 goals in the 1900 series.
The 1899-1900 Winnipeg Victorias with team captain Bain featured in the center
The Shamrocks retained the cup after fending off a challenge from the Halifax Crescents three weeks later and repeated as Canadian Amateur Hockey League champions that season, which set them up for a rematch with the Victorias beginning on January 29, 1901.
Game 1, held at the Montreal Arena, went to Winnipeg 4-3, with Bain scoring once. Two nights later the clubs fought to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation before embarking on the first overtime game in Stanley Cup history, which was won by Winnipeg captain and coach Bain, wearing a protective mask due to a broken nose, scored his second goal of the game at the four minute mark of the overtime, the second cup winning goal of his career.
The Winnipeg newspaper celebrated the Victorias championship
The Victorias once again completed their annual triumph over the Winnipeg Hockey Club on February 19th to retain the rights to the cup prior to facing their next challenge in January of 1902 by the Toronto Wellingtons in Winnipeg. The Victorias successfully turned away their challengers by winning the best-of-three series in two games by identical scores of 5-3.
The Victorias next challenge came less than two months later in March, after the Victorias confirmed their grip on the cup by winning the 1902 MHA title, this time in the form of the Montreal Hockey Club, the original Stanley Cup holders, also known as Montreal AAA, who unseated the Victorias following scores of 1-0 for Winnipeg, followed by 5-0 and 2-1 for Montreal, which were Bain's final games before his retirement from hockey.
Bain played eight seasons during his hockey career, all with the Victorias. He set a personal best with 13 goals in 5 games in 1898 and during his career played 27 regular season games, scoring 66 goals and 73 points, with another 10 goals coming in 11 Stanley Cup games.
He was still not done with his athletic career though, as he became national trapshooting champion of Canada in 1903 and competed as a figure skater, winning a dozen titles including his final one at the age of 56! He continued to participate competitively until 1930 and made appearances until the age of 70.
Bain was voted Canada's top athlete of the second half of the 19th century and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1949, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Today's featured jersey is a 1900-01 Winnipeg Victorias Dan Bain jersey. The Victorias burgundy sweaters were adorned with a charging Bison on the upper left chest and trimmed with gold around the collar, cuffs and waist.
Today's video is a look at the Winnipeg Victorias first championship and how it helped the Stanley Cup become known across all of Canada.