Hamilton and the 1931 Allan Cup – Chapter 5
he 1931 Hamilton Tigers had to play the Truro Bearcats in a two-game
series to determine who would represent the eastern part of Canada
in the Allan Cup. In the west, the Edmonton Superiors and Winnipeg
Seniors were getting ready to do battle to meet their eastern counterpart.
The eastern series would start the last week of March, 1931, and
the games would be played in Toronto. It would be the battle of
But after a 6-2 victory for Hamilton in the first game, the Tigers
showed their claws to the team from Nova Scotia to take a four-goal
“Without extending themselves to any great degree, Tigers
romped through the first game of the eastern Canada Senior hockey
finals at Toronto last night with a 6-to-2 triumph,” said
the Hamilton Spectator account of March 27.
“The Bengals showed remarkably little effect from the heavy
going (train travel over the past few weeks), and they evinced
complete superiority over the Nova Scotians.”
Bill Louch scored twice in the first period for Hamilton, with
McGowan getting another goal in the first. Jackie Kane scored for
Hamilton in the second, and picked up another marker in the third.
McGowan also scored his second of the game in the third.
From the Spec report, it appeared the weak link in the Bearcat
lineup was its goalie, who was not up to the task. Wright was brought
out of retirement for Truro to play net, as the team’s regular
goalie had been barred from playing by the CAHA.
“Wright appeared not quite equal to the task of turning
aside the drives hurled at his from all angles.”
The Bearcats also offered little offence, and Tiger goalie Hawse
Marsh had few problems with their attack.
“The Bearcats had few opportunities to score from close
in, but they were dangerous whenever they went in driving for loose
pucks and rebounds. The bulk of Truro’s sniping was weak,
with few hard drives from outside the defense of from the boards
offering the Hamilton goalie difficulties.”
The Hamilton defense was also on their game, as noted:
“The Farrell-McKay duo (Red Ferrell and Gordon McKay) showed
strength, blocking in front of the goal with good effect, and turning
the attackers harmlessly into the corners with having to resort
to crushing measures.”
So Hamilton had one more game to win to represent the eastern
side of the country in the final. And the trip back from the Toronto
Arena after the second game was a happy one for the Tigers, who
beat Truro 5-1 in the second game to win the series 11 goals to
“The Bengals thus ascended to the eastern Canada throne
by virtue of a total score of 11 to 3 against the Bluenoses, who,
despite inferior play by Hamilton on Saturday, were outclassed
from the start of the first game to the finish of the last.”
The “inferior play” of the second game was attributed
to the poor ice surface in Toronto, with a five-foot wide strip
of slushy ice from one end of the rink to the other. Arena workers
had tried to make repairs to the ice the morning of the game, and
the players were well aware of the hazards of this surface, skating
gingerly around the mush.
The Tigers scored three unanswered goals in the first period,
thanks to Kane, Louch, and McGowan, and another pair in the second,
Kane’s second of the game, and a goal by Roy Litzen, an alternate
who came off the bench.
“One of the most pleasing features of the game was the exhibition
offered by the youthful Roy Litzen, who was injected into the game
at center ice in the final period. Litz not only uncovered some
neat checking, but he broke away several times on mighty dangerous
The newspaper accounts gave Truro goalie Wright the thumbs-up,
and commended him considering the 40-year old had been called out
of retirement just before the series began. Hamilton also avoided
entanglements with the Bearcats as much as possible, skating around
them with ease.
“The wily Bengals refused to be drawn into heavy bumping
duels, and they made the Bearcats’ rearguard look rather
ridiculous on occasions when they avoided the checks altogether
and raced in on the Truro citadel.”
So Hamilton was headed west to play the Winnipeg team, which beat
Edmonton for the final showdown.
To be held in Winnipeg, game one of the three-game series was
a sellout, with all 6,000 seats bought and paid for. Coached by
Jack Hughes, the Winnipeg-area Elmwood Millionaires had already
won the 1931 Memorial Cup as National Junior Champs. Coach Hughes
would also be behind the bench for the Winnipeg effort in the Allan
The winners of the Allan Cup would also earn the right to represent
Canada at the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.
Next: Hamilton is in the game, but Winnipeg gets a step closer
to owning the 1931 Allan Cup.