Quebec Bulldogs Mini-Exhibition on the Plains of Abraham

Quebec Bulldogs Mini-Exhibition on the Plains of Abraham

A MUST FOR HOCKEY FANS AND HISTORY BUFFS:  THE BULLDOGS MINI-EXHIBITION ON THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM                                                                           

Article by Catherine McKenna  Photos: Bulldogs Exhibition at the Discovery Pavilion on the Plains of Abraham

Discover and learn about the first era of hockey, and Quebec’s most accomplished hockey team of the day!

To commemorate the Quebec Bulldogs’ Stanley Cup victories in 1912 and 1913, the National Battlefields Commission is presenting a mini-exhibition this summer on the Plains of Abraham.

In collaboration with renowned Radio-Canada sports journalist and author Marc Durand, this facet of a larger three-part activity (http://www.theplainsofabraham.ca) showcases the Quebec Skating Rink, the origins of ice hockey and the puck, the players’ uniform, the team,  photos, a fascinating scrapbook, along with interpretation panels that take us back to the glory days of Québec hockey history’s beginnings. The photos of the rink depict a bygone era of natural ice in a small arena, notably without boards, one that welcomed up to 2,500 spectators. Complementary to the exhibition, the Quebec Skating Rink (1891-1918; home to the Quebec Bulldogs from 1891-1913), which was located near the entrance to the Plains at La Grande-Allée by the Cross of Sacrifice, is also featured in a short film produced by the National Film Board in 2008.

Rewind, in fact, to 2008 when the National Battlefields Commission paid tribute to the Quebec Bulldogs as part of the park’s 100th anniversary celebrations. I stumbled upon this exhibition quite by accident while cross-country skiing that winter. Leaving my skis out on the snowy Plains, I wandered into the venue, and what caught my immediate attention was the sound of English-speaking voices. As I approached the far corner kiosk, I could hardly believe that I was face-to-face with none other than the son of the great Joe Malone, his wife Rita, and family. My eyes flashed from Joe Malone Jr., to the faces of Joe Malone Sr. and my grandfather, Dr. Walter Rooney on the team poster. The honour of meeting these extraordinary and truly lovely people in this serendipitous encounter led to a chain of connections that would bring the Malones back to Québec when they so graciously accepted my invitation to participate in the Défilé de la St-Patrick de Québec this past year alongside the National Battlefields Commission’s entry in the parade.

Quebec_Bulldogs_1Fast forward to the current exhibition, and the man who worked with the National Battlefields Commission to create it, Marc Durand…there is no better reference to the history of the Bulldogs than Durand, whose childhood outings to the Colisée resulted in a life-long endeavour to gather information from a multitude of sources to offer us a portrait of the Quebec Hockey Club – Durand attests that “Quebec Bulldogs” was a nickname inspired by defenseman Joe Hall (whose Bulldog Togo graces some team photos) – and their place in hockey history. Durand explained that as a young hockey fan, he was disappointed to learn that there appeared to be next to no acknowledgement of or information about the team that was created in 1878, just three years after the invention of ice hockey. Given that many team members were local players of Irish descent: Joe and Jeff Malone, Paddy Moran, and Dr. Walter Rooney, Durand’s Irish roots perhaps proved to be part of the final impetus years later to compile a dynamic and detail-rich Web site (http://quebecbulldogs.com), as well as embark upon a project to write a book about the team, scheduled to be published this fall.

Though little has been written about our early hockey heroes, Durand reminds us that “…for forty years the Bulldogs were one of the best hockey teams in the world, and they had the best players in the world…” Joe Malone, the team’s star player, has maintained his place as nothing less than a legend in hockey history. His record of seven goals in a regular season game, his goal average for one season, as well as the most games (five) in which five goals or more were scored still stand unequalled today, ahead of the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The Quebec Bulldogs were a strong team, and no doubt a very well-managed one. Seen in photos taken on the occasion of their Stanley Cup wins in 1912 and 1913, Vice-President M.J. Quinn, director general of the Quebec Hockey Club, the Irish manager who never played hockey, would be the driving force behind the players for ten years.

…to be continued on the Plains of Abraham, at this mini-exhibition that will delight hockey fans and history buffs alike; it offers a rare glimpse into the little-known but storied past of this gritty, colourful, and highly talented team whose beginnings on the Quebec Skating Rink would lead them to the Stanley Cup victories of 1912-1913.

Where: The Discovery Pavilion on the Plains of Abraham, 855, avenue Wilfred-Laurier, level 0 (east of the Drill Hall). Parking is available behind the building.

When: On now through September 3, 2012, daily, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Further information: (418) 649-6157.

Categories: Arts & Culture, News, Sports

About Author

Catherine McKenna

Catherine McKenna is a Quebecker of Irish descent who returned to her native city in 2002 to live inside the walls after many years in Toronto and the United States. Following her studies in literature and languages at York University, she rode Thoroughbred racehorses for 22 years, worked for The Pollution Probe Foundation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness, as well as in the arts, among other diverse endeavours. Her book, Jeanie Johnston Journal, was published in 2005, and she continues to write for various publications in Québec, Montréal, and Toronto. She has worked as an ESL teacher for ten years and a translator for five. The Défilé de la St-Patrick is an organisation dear to her heart; she has been a member of the Board of Directors since the revival of the parade in 2010.

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