Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1908-09 Toronto Marlboros Bruce Ridpath Jersey

After playing junior hockey in 1904, Bruce Ridpath joined the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1905 as an amateur, turing professional with the Marlboros in 1906, playing in eight games and scoring 17 times.

1905 toronto marlboros, 1905 toronto marlboros
The 1905 OHA champion Toronto Marlboros

He helped lead the Marlboros to the league championship in 1908, which led to the Marlboros facing the Montreal Wanderers in a one game challenge for the Stanley Cup. While Toronto would lose the game 6-4, Ridpath did score a goal during the contest.

On this date in 1909, Ridpath had his finest night on the ice, when he scored seven times in a 15-10 Toronto win over Brantford. Later that same season, Ridpath played with the Cobalt Silver Kings, who would be one of the founding members of the National Hockey Association the following season.

Ridpath did not return to Cobalt for the 1909-10 season, as he signed with the Ottawa Senators, who were also members in the new NHA along with the Haileybury Comets, Renfrew Creamery Kings, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Wanderers and a brand new club, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators were the holders of the Stanley Cup at the time Ridpath joined the club, and as such endured a pair of challenges for the cup while also playing their NHA regular season schedule. The first challenge was from Edmonton of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association, who they turned back in Game 1 by a score of 8-4 with Ridpath contributing a goal. The second match two days later saw Ottawa rack up 13 goals to Edmonton's 7, with Ridpath netting three goals in the Senators successful defense.

Ridpath Senators 1910-11 jersey, Ridpath Senators 1910-11 jersey
Ridpath in the unusual vertically striped Senators jersey of 1909-10

The Senators lost control of the cup when they had to relinquish it to the league champion Wanderers, but Ridpath did finish second in the league in scoring with 15 goals in 12 games, second on the Senators to teammate Marty Walsh.

Ottawa rebounded in 1910-11 by taking the NHA championship, thanks to a 13-3 record and scoring a league best 122 goals, 31 more than the next closest team - quite a margin in a 16 game season! Ridpath came in third in scoring for the Senators and fourth in the league with 22 goals in those 16 games.

Ridpath Senators, Ridpath Senators
Ottawa would return to their customary horizontal stripes in 1910-11

Once more in control of the Stanley Cup as league champions, Ottawa fended off two challenges for the cup, first a 7-4 owner Galt, with Ridpath scoring two, and a 13-4 drubbing of Port Arthur, during which Ridpath again contributing two to the cause.

1910-11 Ottawa Senators team, 1910-11 Ottawa Senators team
Ridpath, front row second from the left, and the 1910-11 Ottawa Senators with the diminutive Stanley Cup

Ridpath missed the entire 1911-12 season after suffering a fractured skull when hit by a car in downtown Toronto in November of 1911. He survived his life-threatening injuries and the Toronto Blueshirts wanted Ridpath to suit up for them, but his vision never sufficiently recovered enough for him to return to the ice. Benefit games were held in his honor to help him pay his medical bills in both Ottawa and Toronto due to his popularity.

While he played right wing, Ridpath designed a popular style of early shin pads for goalkeepers that were widely worn in the early days of professional hockey.

Lesueur shin pads, Lesueur shin pads
Senators teammate Percey Lesueur wearing an early style of goalkeeper shin pads designed by Ridpath

Beyond his hockey career, Ridpath was also a member of the Toronto Canoe Club and was known as a canoe racer and stunt paddler, who performed shows around the globe!

Ridpath suffered a stroke in 1925 and died at the too young age of 40.

Today's featured jersey is a 1908-09 Toronto Marlboros Bruce Ridpath jersey. The Toronto Marlborough Athletic Club was founded in 1903 and operated several clubs - minor, junior and senior teams. The junior club won seven Memorial Cups and sent over 180 played to the NHL as an affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, including six Hall of Famers. The senior team competed for the Stanley Cup in 1904 and won the Allan Cup in 1950 as the senior champions of Canada.

Toronto Marlboros 1908-09, Toronto Marlboros 1908-09

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