Women In Sport : Pre-Confederation Newfoundland
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In the winter of 1921 the young ladies attending city Colleges became interested in this form of sport and on nearly every afternoon, regardless of weather conditions, assembled on the suburban ponds to go through the exciting exercises. - (Rose Berrigan, Newfoundland Sporting Annual, 1923)

Hockey was introduced to Newfoundland in 1898 by railway magnate R.G. Reid, who built the Prince of Wales Rink (later known as the Prince’s Rink) behind the Reid Newfoundland rail yard at Fort William. Initially, the sport was not well-received, although general skating was very popular with the city residents. Hockey eventually gained momentum within the community and women soon took up the stick and puck, playing at both inter-collegiate and community levels.

During the winter of 1907 a series of ladies hockey games were played at Prince’s Rink among students of the Methodist College (16 March 1907) and between the students of the Methodist and Bishop Spencer colleges (24 & 29 March 1907). This series included an “interesting” mixed game consisting of a ladies’ team and a men’s team (27 March 1907). In 1912, there was a series of young women’s games played at the Prince of Wales Rink between two teams identified as “the Whites” and “the Blues.”

In 1916 the Women’s Patriotic Association (WPA) held a series of exhibition games, the Ladies’ Patriotic Games, between the “Red” and “Green” teams to raise funds for the war effort. By 1921 a Ladies’ College Hockey League had been established among the city schools: Methodist College, Bishop Spencer College, Academy of Our Lady of Mercy and Memorial University College.

Interest in hockey was not limited to St. John’s. In 1913, central Newfoundland had the Grand Falls Single and Married Ladies’ teams. Carbonear’s Jubilee Rink, built and run by Billy Howell in 1927, was available to all residents of the surrounding area. In the 1930’s, an extra-curricular league was established with teams from St. John’s, Bell Island, and Conception Bay North.

In 1937, the Ladies’ Hockey League was formed in St. John’s consisting of three teams: the Comets, the Originals and the Shooting Stars. Games were played at the Prince’s Rink before and after general skating sessions and were officiated by volunteer referees. The City League was in existence from 1937 to 1939. In 1939 the teams from Bay Roberts, Bell Island, Carbonear and the City League met in St. John’s for the All-Avalon Peninsula Women’s Hockey Championship. The trophy was the Noxema Cup.

The onset of World War II, combined with the destruction of the Prince’s Rink in 1941, stalled the advance of women’s hockey. Although the men’s teams were welcomed to play at the St. Bonaventure’s Forum, women’s hockey teams were left without a venue.



Academy of Our Lady of Mercy Hockey Team 1922

Back Row:
Alice Slattery, Dorothy Ellis, Mollie Kelley

Mary Molloy, Mary Power, Rose Berrigan

Front Row:
Kathleen Gleason, Mary McGrath


Methodist College Hockey Champions 1922

Front Row, left to right:
Rosa Peters, Anna Wilson

Middle Row, left to right:
Muriel Lawrence, Mabel Lawrence, Jean Parsons (Capt.), Ann Hunter, Florence Soper

Top Row, left to right:
Margaret Robertson, Emma Martin, Helen Moulton


1932 Ladies’ Ice Hockey Team
Newfoundland Memorial University College

Back Row:
Irene Bennett, Max Whelan (Mgr.), Helen Wood

Middle Row:
Eleanor Soper, Margaret Butt, Muriel Lawrence (Capt.), Isabel Moore, Marie Roberts

Front Row:
Mary Collins, Ruth Clarke


Bishop Spencer College Ice Hockey “Champs” 1936-1937

Back Row:
Leila Suckling (wing), Elizabeth Wood (defence), Janet Ayre (wing), Bertha Godden (defence), Ralph Anderson (coach)

Front Row:
Bernice Sheppard (Grand Falls-defence), Eleanor Harris (wing), Ruth LeMessurier (centre, captain), Hilda Nichols (wing), Marjorie Nichols (centre)


Grand Falls Single Ladies’ Hockey Team 1913

First Row, left to right:
Agatha Kehoe, Mary Frew, Mabel Forcey

Second Row, left to right:
Dorothy Brain, Daisy Goodyear, Blanche Ireland

Grand Falls Married Ladies Hockey Team, 1913
Courtesy of Grand Falls Heritage Society

Bell Island Hockey Team 1938
Bell Island Hockey Team 1938

Back Row: Martha Petrie; Doug Smith (coach); Evelyn Connors; Kay Nomore

Front Row: Bridie Conway, Mary Petrie; Clarissa Petrie; Elizabeth Murphy; Mary Murphy (Note the goalie’s injured nose, inflicted by a wayward puck)

Courtesy of Evelyn (Connors) Gibbons

Roverines [193-?]
Roverines [193-?]
Courtesy of the town of Bay Roberts


Evelyn Gibbons
Audio "Perils of Winter Travel"
Audio "It Wasn't a Uniform as Such"
Audio "Don't Break the Ice"

Hilda Green
Audio "St. John's Hockey League 1937"
Audio "Penalty"
Audio "Some Names I Remember"
Audio "Not a Joke"

Lillian Howse
Audio "Girls from the Mill"

Vera Taylor
Audio "Playing Hockey"

Emma Wells and Jean Taylor
Audio "That's a Man on the Ice" (Emma's Version) | Read The Story
Audio "Making Ice"
Audio "Playing Hockey"

Olive Wilcox
Audio "That's a Man on the Ice" (Olive's Version) | Read The Story
Audio "Uniforms"
Audio "Hockey's Next Generation"


Audio Prince's Rink
Audio Jubilee Rink