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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Battle of Alberta Part 1

In March of 1895, a team from Calgary (comprised mostly from the Calgary Fire Brigade’s hockey club) traveled to Edmonton where they played against both the Edmonton Thistles as well as a Mounted Police team from Fort Saskatchewan. This was the first known game between any Calgary and Edmonton teams.

The Western Canada Hockey League was founded in 1921. Calgary and Edmonton both received teams, the Calgary Tigers and the Edmonton Eskimos. In 1923, the Eskimos won the WCHL title, but then lost the Stanley Cup to their rival, the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League. In 1924, Calgary made an appearance in the Stanley Cup championship but lost to the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL.

1924 Calgary Tigers
Players of the Calgary Tigers hockey club in Montreal, Quebec for the 1924 Stanley Cup Finals.
The WCHL collapsed in 1927 and Alberta fans then turned to junior hockey. It wasn’t until the World Hockey Association arrived in 1972 that pro hockey returned to Alberta. Both cities received teams, but the Calgary Broncos closed up shop before ever playing a game. That left the new Edmonton Oilers without an intra-provincial rival until a new WHA team, the Calgary Cowboys, was formed in 1975. However, they didn’t last long. The Cowboys folded in 1977. The WHA didn’t last long either. It merged with the NHL in 1979.

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