Hall of Fame Members
Preston Rivulettes Hockey Team
When the Preston Rivulettes Hockey Team was organized in 1930 partially in answer to a dare, no one could have dreamed how successful the team would become. Legend has it that the Rivulettes hockey team originated in an incident that took place in the old Lowther St. Arena in 1930. Some members of the Preston Rivulettes girls softball team were deep in a discussion concerning plans for their immediate future. One of the group suggested the formation of a women's hockey team. When an onlooker scoffed at the idea and challenged them to follow through, the team was born.
At the first practice nine players were signed to the club. They were Hilda and Nellie Ranscombe, Marm and Helen Schmuck, Marg Gabbitass, Myrtle Parr, Toddy Webb, Pat Marriott and Helen Sault. The team entered a league composed of teams from Toronto, Kitchener, Stratford, London, Hamilton, Guelph and Port Dover. The Rivulettes quickly rose to the top of the league, easily outclassing their opposition. As the years went by and the team's reputation grew other players added their talents to the roster. They included Violet Hall, Sheila Lahey, Gladys Hawkins, Norma Hipel, Ruth Dargel, Elvis Williams, Fay Hilborn, Winnie Makcrow and Eleanor Fairgrieves, Midge Robertson and Marie Bielstein.
The success of the Preston Rivulettes was, and remains, unparalleled in the annuals of Canadian sports history. The team played an estimated 350 games between 1930 and 1940, tying three and losing only two. In that 10 year span the Rivulettes were ten times the winners of the Bobby Rosenfeld Trophy that was presented each year to the Champions of Ontario. They were also six-time winners of the Eastern Canadian championship and the Elmer Doust Cup that went with it. They won the trophy each time they competed for it. The team's crowning achievement was capturing the Lady Bessborough Trophy as Canadian Champions no less than six times.
By the end of the 1930's the team's reputation for excellence had spread well beyond Canada's borders and in 1939 the Rivulettes were invited to demonstrate their skills in Europe. Unfortunately the outbreak of World War II forced the cancellation of the tour. The war had an even greater effect on the team the following year when it was forced to fold when it could no longer honour its travel commitments because of government imposed gasoline rationing. Although the team was now gone, it was not forgotten and in 1963 the Preston Rivulettes Hockey Team was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.
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