The Early Years
Hockey’s early history at UWO was dependent on mother nature; players were reliant on outdoor rinks and frozen rivers. London’s mild weather caused frequent thaws which often spoiled the ice and, along with drainage problems, made it difficult to successfully maintain a rink on campus. Determined to play, Western students frequently skated on the Thames River, and in the 1905-06 academic year a skating and hockey club was organized.With a membership fee of one dollar, the club played at the Simcoe Street and the Jubilee Rinks in London.
Originally the sport was divided into two teams based on the faculties: the medicine team and an arts and divinity team. In the 1906-07 season, Western entered these two teams into the city league.
Although facilities were limited and expensive, the teams practiced and played regularly. The faculty of medicine had several teams, divided by academic year, and played at the Simcoe Street rink between five and six every night. The arts and divinity students, also divided into teams by academic year, played and practiced at the Westminster rink.
By 1910, hockey was the most popular game at Western and by the First World War it had four teams entered in the various city leagues.In the 1913-14 season, a Western team went on to win the London City League Champion- ship and the Northern League Title before losing to Berlin (Kitchener) in the Canadian Hockey Association Championships.
Costs for rink rentals continued to be expensive, but enthusiasm for the sport demanded the ice time. In 1916, the UWO Athletic Directorate agreed to pay thirty-six dollars to rent the Simcoe rink for twelve nights from six to seven o’clock for interfaculty hockey.