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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The Vermilion Hockey Scandal

Hockey has always been popular in Vermilion, going back over 100 years. When a Vermilion team wins a championship, the entire community celebrates.

However, when a team cheats to win, the entire community is out for blood.

That is exactly what happened on Feb. 27, 1922. At the time, the Big Six Hockey League brought together six teams from across the area to play each other. It was a small league, but it was something that the locals took very seriously.

Vermilion was good enough to dominate in the league and make it all the way to the final. They were playing against their arch-rivals Vegreville.

The final series was won by Vegreville on account of goals scored, but something didn’t seem right to the Vermilion players. Immediately after the game was completed, the Vermilion team began to suspect that Con Bissett, who played defense for Vegreville, was a ringer.

Manager Tucker of the Vermilion team took the train to Calgary where he interviewed officials with the Alberta Amateur Hockey League. Soon after, Col. Craig, who donated the trophy for the series received a wire from the association that stated that Con Bissett had neither an amateur card or a hockey playing certificate.

While Vegreville had the championship trophy, they only had it for as long as there was no protest. Vegreville stated that Con Bissett had the cards he needed, but Vermillion questioned whether or not those were actually legitimate.

As a result, it was decided that series would be replayed with one game on neutral ice between Vegreville and Vermilion. This time, Vermilion won and went on to play Okotoks for the provincial championship, the D.E. Black Trophy.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find if Vermilion won that series as well.

Sharing Canadian history through social media, history columns and on my podcast is what I do for a living. Please consider supporting that by donating at www.canadaehx.com (click Donate).

Contact Craig at craig@canadaehx.comListen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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