Tuesday, June 19, 2018

1941/42 Pacific Coast Senior Hockey Association, Part 1

A few years back,  I wrote about the Vancouver Norvans and their one season of 1941/42. Recently I have been delving deeper into this season of wartime amateur hockey in southern British Columbia. A reader got in touch with me and shared an image of an actual program he owns from this long-lost season. Shown above, the cover depicts Victoria Bapcos captain, Jack Kilpatrick. The Bapcos (named after their sponsor; a B.C. paint company), the Norvans, the Nanaimo Clippers and New Westminster Spitfires constituted the Pacific Coast Intermediate Amateur Hockey League. 
In fact, even by the end of October 1941, mere days before the opening of the campaign, the Norvans name had yet to be decided upon. The Victoria Daily Colonist newspaper (which will be quoted throughout) wrote on Oct. 31, 1941 "The other two teams in the four-club loop are Vancouver Norvans or Corvettes – the name has not yet been decided – and Victoria Bapcos."
Just over a week later, the Norvans had been christened as such and the build up to the opening match was building;  Nov.9, 1941 "VANCOUVER- A brand new chapter in British Columbia’s amateur hockey annals will be written here Monday night when the newly formed Pacific Coast intermediate circuit makes its initial debutThe new amateur set-up will blossom out in place of the now defunct Pacific Coast Professional Legue, which finished last season’s play in such a muddled state that curtailment of further professional activities was decided. Canada’s passport regulations, affecting men between the military call-up ages of twenty-one and twenty-five, provided the amateur loop with some valuable material."
Jack Riley of the Norvans, a re-instated amateur who played 104 NHL games in the mid-30s
The Daily Colonist continued to outlay where the league grew from and who would be skating in the new circuit; "Several professional stars, barred from action in the National and other united States leagues under this classification, have obtained amateur reinstatement and will add color and strength as well as have steadying affect on younger players. Disappearance of professional hockey here this year brings back memories of the year 1925 when the entire Pacific Coast Pro League was sold to Eastern Canada and, to fans here, remained a legend of the past until 1932 when the circuit was again set into action here. Since that date the loop functioned successfully until the sour-ending of the 1939/40 season forced it back into legendary annals. After clearing the bulk of pre-season hurdles, which included feuds on the eligibilty of several players, coaches and managers are putting their squads through stiff conditioning workouts and sharpening up for the forthcoming battles. Should anticipations of league officials become a reality the new amateur venture will represent one of the strongest circuits ever introduced in British Columbia."
Next post, the games begin.

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