SI Vault
Arnold Schechter
February 14, 1977
On a black winter night in February 1903, One-Eyed McGee, Rat Westwick and the rest of the rough, sweat-soaked gang were whooping it up as their leader passed out the silver nuggets. These were not Hole-in-the-Wall desperados splitting the loot from a train robbery. McGee had never stolen anything more valuable than a cross-ice pass, and Westwick was a shifty character only to rival defenses. They were members of the Ottawa Silver Seven, the greatest amateur team in hockey history, celebrating their clinching of the Canadian Amateur Hockey League championship.
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February 14, 1977

Silver Seven Won The Stanley Cup So Often They Kicked It Into A Canal

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After the battle, the Silver Seven retired to the bar in the Russell Hotel for a celebration. It was reported that Forward Harry Smith, Alf's ebullient brother, had, on a dare, drop-kicked the Stanley Cup into the Rideau Canal, returning with a hangover the next morning to reclaim the trophy from the dry bed of the waterway. "We only took it home to show it to mother," said the Smiths, who also admitted, "We did throw it around a little."

The 1906 season began with the Silver Seven claiming two more victims in Stanley Cup competition before playing their archrivals, the Montreal Wanderers, in a two-game, total-goals series. A newspaper had described a previous Ottawa- Montreal game as a "saturnalia of butchery," but the opening contest of the Stanley Cup series was more like an execution by firing squad—with the Ottawa goalie wearing the blindfold. When the game ended, the Silver Seven was faced with an eight-goal deficit to overcome.

In the second game, Ottawa unveiled Percy LeSueur, the first goalie to flop on the ice to make saves. The acrobatic LeSueur stymied the Montreal forwards as Ottawa made up five goals of its deficit by the middle of the final period. With time running short, an unlikely hero emerged. Harry Smith, the slowest Ottawa skater, unleashed three quick wrist shots to bring the Silver Seven even.

The ecstatic crowd showered the ice with hats, scarves and rubber boots. Earl Grey, the Governor-General of Canada, halted play to congratulate Smith. But the celebration ended a few minutes later when Lester Patrick of the Wanderers scored on two rink-length dashes to clinch the series.

Although the Ottawa team disbanded after the 1906 season, its exploits became a permanent part of hockey lore. Six of the players who contributed to the three-year win streak have been voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and 44 years after its reign ended, the Silver Seven was selected as the outstanding amateur team of the half century.

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