Ottawa Silver Seven win Stanley Cup
The Silver Seven participated in perhaps the most famous Stanley Cup challenge of all, that of Dawson City of Yukon Territory in 1905.
Dawson City had Lorne Hanna, who had played for Brandon against Ottawa in a 1904 challenge and two former elite hockey players: Weldy Young, who had played for Ottawa in the 1890s, and D. R. McLennan, who had played for Queen's College against the Montreal Victorias in an 1895 challenge. The remaining players were selected from other Dawson City clubs. Dawson City's challenge was accepted in the summer of 1904 by the Stanley Cup trustees and scheduled to start on Friday, January 13, 1905. The date of the challenge meant that Young had to travel later, as he had to work in a federal election that December and meet the club in Ottawa.
To get to Ottawa, several thousand miles away, the club had to get to Whitehorse by road, catch a train from there to Skagway, Alaska, then catch a steamer to Vancouver, B.C. and a train from there to Ottawa. On December 18, 1904 several players set out by dog sled and the rest left the next day by bicycle for a 330 mile trek to Whitehorse. At first the team made good progress, but the weather turned warm enough to thaw the roads, forcing the players to walk several hundred miles. The team spent the nights in police sheds along the road. At Whitehorse, the weather turned bad, causing the trains not to run for three days and the Nuggets to miss their steamer in Skagway. The next one could not dock for three days due to the ice buildup. The club found the sea journey treacherous, and it caused seasickness amongst the team. When the steamer reached Vancouver, the area was too fogged in to dock, and the steamer docked in Seattle. The team from there caught a train to Vancouver, from which it left on January 6, 1905, arriving in Ottawa on January 11.
Despite the difficult journey, the Ottawas refused to change the date of the first game, only two days away. Ottawa arranged hospitable accommodations for the Dawson City team. The Yukoners received a huge welcome at the train station, had a welcoming dinner, and used the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Club's rooms for the duration of their stay. Young did not arrive in time to play for Dawson.
The first game was close at the halfway point, Ottawa leading Dawson three to one. In the second half, the play became violent. Norman Watt of Dawson tripped Ottawa's Art Moore, who retaliated with a stick to the mouth of Watt. Watt promptly knocked Moore out, hitting him on the head with his stick. The game ended 9–2 for Ottawa. The game left a poor taste in the mouth for the Yukoners, who complained that several goals were offside.
After the game, Watt stated that Frank McGee was not as good as he was said to be, as he had only scored once in the first game. McGee scored four goals in the first half of the second match and 10 in the second half, leading Ottawa to a 23–2 score. Despite this high score, the newspapers claimed that Albert Forrest, the Dawson City goalie had played a "really fine game", otherwise the score "might have been doubled". Ottawa celebrated by hosting Dawson at a banquet. After this, the players took the Cup and attempted to drop-kick it over the Rideau Canal. The stunt was unsuccessful, as the Cup landed on the frozen ice and had to be retrieved the next day.
In January 1905, the Dawson City Nuggets travelled 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from the Yukon to Ottawa for a best-of-three Cup challenge series. The Nuggets actually left Dawson City on December 19, 1904 and travelled on a month-long journey by dog sled (Dawson to Whitehorse), ship (Skagway to Vancouver), and train (Whitehorse to Skagway, and Vancouver to Ottawa). Largely because of the long trip, they were no match for the Silver Seven. Ottawa defeating them in Game 1, 9–2. Numerous Stanley Cup records were then set in Game 2, including Frank McGee's 14 goals, and a 23–2 rout, the largest margin of victory for any challenge game or Stanley Cup Final game to date.
Several players playing for Dawson were from the Ottawa area. Jim Johnstone was from Ottawa. Norman Watt was from Aylmer, Quebec. Randy McLennan had played in a Stanley Cup challenge for Queen's University of Kingston, Ontario. Another player has Stanley Cup challenge experience: Lorne Hanna, "formerly of the Yukon", had played for Brandon Wheat Cities in their 1904 challenge of Ottawa. The score was 9 to 2 but Ottawa might have increased its proportions had they set to work to run up a score on the men who had travelled 4,000 miles from the far north in quest of the trophy. During the first twenty minutes of play, the challenging team made a remarkably fine showing agains the champions, but after that they gradually faded away and were never seriously in the running, indicating that the chief fault with the team is that they are not in condition to stand the test of a hard battle after their long trip of 23 days from the north. While defeated to-night, it is undoubtably the fact that the team will be a different proportion in the second game on Monday.The visiting team was outclassed to-night quite as decisively as the score indicates. In fact had it not been for the fact of Forrest's presence in the Dawson goal the score against them might have been a great deal larger. Ottawa simply skated away from them at the whistle, and continued to pile up the goals with a merciless monotonous regularity which was farcical in the extreme.
Ottawa vs. Rat Portage
In March 1905, the Rat Portage Thistles issued another challenge to the Senators. McGee did not play in the first game and the Thistles crushed Ottawa, 9–3. However, he returned to lead the Senators to 4–2 and 5–4 victories in games two and three, respectively.