Rossland Women's Hockey Team

September 24th, 2020 1 Minutes

In 1900 a women’s hockey team was created as a “novelty” for Rossland’s 3rd Winter Carnival. All Rossland women were invited to join for a fee of 50 cents each, a considerable price for the time. Interest increased, and two teams, the Crescents, and the Stars resulted.

Rossland Ladies Hockey Team c. 1912 Collection # 2285.0004
Image courtesy of Rossland Museum

The best players were chosen for the Winter Carnival debut against Nelson. Unprepared for Rossland’s keen enthusiasm, Nelson was defeated 4-0, giving the Rossland Ladies Hockey Club the title of B.C.’s first female hockey champions. With the prospect of future rivals, the Rossland women’s hockey teams practiced tirelessly six days a week to disparage the term “novelty” as they were so crassly labeled.

At the time of its conception, women’s hockey in the West Kootenays did not have the formal structure it does today. It was considered a promotional coup, victors of the Rossland Winter Carnival were awarded the distinction of ‘Provincial Champions’ or even better ‘World Champions’ like the Rossland Ladies Hockey Team in 1911 when they defeated Grand Forks 3-1.

For 17 years, the Rossland Ladies Hockey Club was virtually undefeated and won the BC Women’s Hockey Championship four more times. Although the Rossland Ladies Hockey Club disbanded in 1918 during the latter part of WWI due to the Spanish influenza epidemic, it had already made their mark in history.

In 2014, the Rossland Ladies Hockey Team received the Pioneer Award from the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.

Rossland Ladies Hockey Team featuring Amey Burnett in the upper right hand corner. 1915-1916 #2285.0001: Image courtesy of Rossland Museum

This award carries provincial and national recognition for the courage, commitment, and talent that all members of the Rossland Ladies Hockey Team possessed. In 2018, 118 years after disbanding, the team was recognized by the BC Sports Hall of Fame for their accomplishments.

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