(*unless your name is Teebz)
That sweater’s a ting of beauty, eh? (Here’s the back, breezers and socks.) It belongs to one of the greatest teams ever to play hockey — the Preston Rivulettes. From 1931 until 1939, this professional team’s record was an estimated 350 wins, 3 ties, and 2 losses. So great was this team that they were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963. But you probably never heard of them, right? That’s because the Preston Rivulettes were a women’s team.
So, to whom does that beautiful sweater belong? Perhaps the greatest player ever — Hilda Ranscombe, a member of the Preston (P/Springs) Rivulettes. She has been called the “Wayne Gretzky of women’s professional ice hockey.” She was regarded as the heart and soul of the Preston Rivulettes. Playing right wing, Hilda Ranscombe’s skills dominated the sport (here’s a color shot of a similar sweater). Scoring data have not been saved, but Ranscombe was by far the top scorer, becoming a legend in her time. An all-round athlete, she also excelled in softball and tennis. She was twice a finalist for Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year. Here is Hilda shortly before her death being inducted into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame.
The Rivulettes were the first women’s team inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and were voted along with the 1947-48 Maple Leafs, 1949-50 Detroit Red Wings, 1959-60 Montreal Canadiens as one of the greatest teams ever. They so dominated women’s ice hockey in the 1930s that the Rivulettes won 10 Ontario titles, 10 Eastern Canadian Championships and 6 Dominion Championships.
So what happened to the Rivs? The team disbanded at the end of the 1930s upon the outbreak of World War II. Unfortunately, after the war, women’s hockey would not return, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the sport started to regain popularity. So, now that they’re not The Greatest Team You Never Heard Of anymore, who is? Let’s hear your nominees.
“This is hockey, OK? It’s not rocket surgery.”
Notes & Quotes: • Worst uni matchups from the past week: Jackson State vs. Illinois (thanks Stuby), Montreal vs. Calgary (submitted by Ricko) and Zimbabwe vs. Sri Lanka •• Today’s Best NFL Games: Skins (getting 4 as Home Dogs) vs. G-Men @ 1:00; Steeltown (getting 1.5) at the Flying Elvises @ 4:15 ••• Bills back in their gorgeous throwbacks today •••• Jesus No. — Phil