History

 

 

OUIHC HistoryThe Oxford University Ice Hockey Club is second only to McGill University as the world's oldest ice hockey team. It was a key influence on the early development of European hockey and set milestones in the history of "Canada's Game". The club also boasts perhaps the most distinguished alumni roster of any team, in any sport - a Canadian Who's Who of politics, academia, law, business, and culture.

Oxford University's hockey tradition traces its roots to a historically unconfirmed 6-0 victory over Cambridge in St Moritz in 1885, but the first photograph and team lists date from February 1895. The first, official hockey Varsity Match took place in 1900 and continued, sporadically, until the outbreak of war in 1914.

 

Originally an all-English affair (the 1900 Oxford Captain, "Bosey" Bosanquet, became one of England's greatest cricketers), the introduction of the Rhodes Scholarship in the early 1900's heralded a revolution in the development of the sport in Europe. Banned from Varsity competition to prevent "a massacre" of Cambridge, the Canadian "Rhodies" formed the Oxford OUIHC HistoryCanadians around 1908 and became the first hockey team to represent Canada wearing the now famous red maple leaf (in 1910). The club subsequently became a founding member of the International Ice Hockey Federation, and was instrumental in having Europe adopt the more exciting "Canadian Rules" instead of the more bandy-like game that was played at the time.

The OUIHC allowed Canadians to join the reconstituted, post-War, Varsity squad in 1920 and, after an inauspicious start, a second Golden Age dawned on the club. It won the inaugural Spengler Cup, the first of four that it would win over the next ten years (having won it four times, the Cup technically "belongs" to the OUIHC).

After the Second World War, the relentless rise of professionalism in hockey had pushed the Oxford Blues out of the limelight. This slow decline to relative obscurity has been assisted by the Club's central dichotomy: as a team made up almost entirely of transient, Canadian scholars, its key role in British hockey history has been overlooked, downplayed, even resented and denied. Likewise, the OUIHC's place in Canadian hockey history has been neglected because the team was formed by Canadians in England, rather than being a Canadian team that toured Europe. The Club has also been overshadowed by Oxford's "dreaming spires" and the public's fascination with Oxford's "traditional" sports, such as rowing, rugby, and cricket, leaving the OUIHC struggling for recognition beyond a "quaint curiosity" in its own town.OUIHC History

However, the Oxford Blues remain one of the last bastions of true amateur, university hockey and one of the top amateur teams in the UK. A women's Blues team was started in 1982 and a men's "B" team was started in the 1920s (The Cosmopolitans) and re-founded in 1994 (The Vikings). The Blues continue the 1909 tradition of an annual European Tour. But there is only one game that matters, the Varsity Match -- only the winner and score is engraved on the Patton Cup. The 90th Varsity Match since 1900 took place in February 2010, with the team winning 7-6 in overtime. Less than two months later, the Blues captured their second consecutive BUIHA National Championship, defeating the Newcastle Wildcats 7-0 in the final. 


OUIHC HistoryProminent Alumni:

  • Rt. Hon. Lester B "Mike" Pearson (Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner)
  • Rt. Hon. Roland "Roly" Michener (Governor-General of Canada)
  • Hon. Dr. George Stanley (Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick and designer of the Canadian Flag)
  • Clarence Campbell (NHL President)
  • Premier Hon. Danny Williams (Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador)OUIHC History
  • Hon. Allan Blakeney (Premier of Saskatchewan)
  • Gen. Peter Dawkins (Heisman Trophy Winner)
  • James E. Coyne (Governor of the Bank of Canada)
  • Hon. Mr Justice Ronald Martland (Canadian Minister of Justice)
  • Hon. Otto Lang (Canadian Minister of Justice)
  • Major Talbot Papineau (great-grandson of patriote Louis-Joseph Papineau and Canada's "Lost Leader" - killed in action at Passchendaele in 1917 - featured in Sandra Gwyn's Tapestry of War)
  • Gustave Lanctôt (Dominion Archivist and Governor-General's Award-winning historian)
  • Bernard J T "Bosie" Bosanquet (Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1905; inventor of the "googly")
  • John MacBain (founder of Trader Classified Media NV)
  • Paul Almond, O.C.,winner of many awards from the Golden Age of TV, and maker of feature films.
  • R. H. G "Dick" Bonnycastle ("Gentleman Adventurer" and founder of Harlequin Books)