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“During her so-called retirement in North Vancouver, award-winning cartoonist, Lynn Johnston (at left) began writing kidlit about robots – the Alottabotz series – with three titles to date.FULL STORY


Vancouver Millionaires back on the ice

February 21st, 2014

On March 2, the Vancouver Canucks will pretend to be the 1915 Vancouver Millionaires while playing a game against the Ottawa Senators who will pretend to be…the Ottawa Senators!

The program for this NHL “Heritage Classic” game that will double as a retroactive tribute to an historic game played in 1915 will feature two articles by West Coast hockey historian Craig Bowlsby, most recently the author of 1913: The Year They Invented The Future Of Hockey.

In preparation for that match-up, Bowlsby will also be giving an illustrated, public talk about the Vancouver Millionaires hockey team at the Vancouver Historical Museum on Thursday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Bowlsby, Craig  please crop 1913 BOOKLOOK cropAccording to hockey historian Craig Bowlsby (above), the first recorded reference to hockey being played in British Columbia, at New Westminster, following a freeze-up of the Fraser River—in January of 1862—appears in the diary of Reverend John Sheepshanks.


Born on February 16, 1957 in Vancouver, the remarkably diligent hockey historian Craig H. Bowlsby earned his BFA degree from University of British Columbia and became a member of the Canadian national fencing team. His love for the sport led him to self-publish a novel about fencing, Taking the Blade (Vancouver: College Printers, 1984).

Once upon a time, hockey was akin to rugby in that the puck, like the ball in rugby, could not be passed forward. In his latest book, 1913: The Year They Invented The Future Of Hockey, Bowlsby gives a detailed look at the introduction of the forward pass into the game.

He writes: “Before 1913, the game of hockey had to be played backwards. The Patrick brothers of the PCHA [Pacific Coast Hockey Association] shattered this hallowed tradition, and played the game forwards. The new rule they invented—the forward pass—was denounced as a farce, and its implementation thought to be impossible. There was only one way to prove they were right—to win the Stanley Cup against the NHA using their despised and reviled new rule. A hundred years ago the Patricks took that challenge.”

Bowlsy has also self-published five stories and the text of his play, The Hound of London (Vancouver: Intrepid Productions), a Sherlock Holmes mystery first staged at Burnaby’s James Cowan Theatre in 1987. These were followed by 50 copies of Ice Age Memories, A Bibliography and Compendium of Early Hockey Publications (1996).

Bowlsby’s major publications are histories of hockey in Western Canada. His self-published, illustrated, 381-page reference work on ice hockey in British Columbia, from 1895 to 1911, The Knights of Winter (unpriced, 2006), unearths lists of all players, all teams, records of games, etc., that are about as beguiling as Egyptian hieroglyphics. What does it all add up to? No matter. He got the excavation job done for others. It’s a monumental work.

Bowlsby followed The Knights of Winter (2006) with an equally admirable, 388-page volume, Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, 1911-1926 (Knights of Winter 2012). It features Cyclone Taylor, Frank and Lester Patrick, Nels Stewart and others. The PCHA created the first American teams to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Bowlsby has also published fiction, including a novella entitled Horth in Killing Reach, (part of the continuing sci-fi series of Okal Rel novels by Lynda Williams, published by Edge science fiction in Calgary) with another novella in the series entitled Horth at Moon Shadow.

Review of the author’s work by <i>BC Studies</I>:

<a href=””> Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, 1911-1926 </a>

<a href=””>The Knights of Winter: The History of British Columbia Hockey from 1895 to 1911</a>


Taking the Blade (Vancouver: College Printers, 1984) 0-9691705-0-5.

The Knights of Winter (2006) 978-0-9691705-6-3

Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, 1911-1926 (Knights of Winter 2012) $25

1913: The Year They Invented The Future Of Hockey (Knights of Winter Publishing 2013) 978-0-9691705-7-0


One Response to “Vancouver Millionaires back on the ice”

  1. Hi…
    I happened to read an article a while back stating that modern Hockey was introduced to British Columbia in 1886 via CPR train.
    I know that the CPR route ran trough Winnipeg also and P.A McDonald from Montreal introduced Hockey there in 1886.
    Unfortunately no-one seems to be returning my emails on this subject.
    If you could give me some feedback as to what year Vancouver played it’s first hockey game would be great.


    James Laverance

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