When the Rossland Ladies Hockey Team was formed in 1900, women in Canada weren’t permitted to vote. Nearly two decades later, after Rossland’s women beat all challengers on the ice, women in BC had also won the right to cast their ballot provincially and federally.

Coincidence? Don’t scoff. While skating like the wind and scoring crisp goals, like other pioneering women at that time, the Rossland Ladies were doing their part pushing back boundaries in the fight for gender equality. It wasn’t easy. To join Rossland’s club and play in the inaugural Winter Carnival in 1900, each player had to pay the then-not-insignificant fee of 50 cents. Enough for two full teams eagerly paid up and a powerhouse was born.

Their sharp uniforms consisted of ankle-length black dresses with gold trim and matching scarves, but it was Rossland’s strong play on the ice that really turned heads. Defeating Nelson 4-0 in the Carnival’s final, Rossland became BC’s first female hockey champions.

Despite constant travel challenges in those days, Rossland remained undefeated in organized play for the next 17 years and claimed the BC women’s hockey championship four more times. In 1911, Rossland defeated Grand Forks 3-1 in a tournament billed as the ‘Ladies Championship of the World.’

The only thing that could stop Rossland proved the Spanish influenza of 1918, which halted so many sports events around the world. By that point however, their mark was made. An enduring dynasty rivalled by few in Canadian women’s hockey history, they helped lay the groundwork for the game in BC.

Team Members:
Johanna Aconite, Effie (Shilvock) Agnew, Ethel Blackman, Eva Blackman, Hazel Blackman, Amey Burnett, Alice Cooper, Mrs. Daly (patroness), Reba Demuth, Helen Falding, Lily Fox, Miss Harris, Alice Hender, Miss Herchmer, Frances Honey, Mellie (Morrison) Inches, Miss B. Inches, Alex Issacson, Madge Keating, Grace Lougheed, Bertha Mary, Tessie McDonald, Miss McFarland, Mary Milne, Alice Northy, Hazel Pitt, Miss Ruff, Ethel Stephens, Chas W. Taylor (manager).

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.