Kenora Thistles win Stanley Cup
Wanderers vs. Kenora at Montreal The Wanderers played one Stanley Cup challenge during the season, losing to the Kenora Thistles 2–4, 6–8 on January 17–21.
Aided by future Hockey Hall of Famers Tom Hooper, Tommy Phillips, and Art Ross, the Thistles came away with 4–2 and 8–6 victories for a combined score of 12–8 to win a two-game total goals series. A "ringer", Ross was a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings and was borrowed by Kenora for just the challenge games.
January 17, 1907
Kenora Thistles 4–2 Montreal Wanderers
January 21, 1907
Kenora Thistles 8–6 Montreal Wanderers
Kenora wins total goals series 12 goals to 8
In January 1907 the Thistles again challenged for the Cup, winning it in a total goals series against the Montreal Wanderers. The games were played on January 17 and 21, with Kenora winning 4–2 and 8–6, respectively. Two other future Hockey Hall of Famers, Art Ross and "Bad" Joe Hall were also on the roster but did not play. Kenora, with a 1907 population of around 4,000, is the smallest town ever to claim the Stanley Cup.
Just two months later, the Thistles were challenged by the Wanderers to a re-match. Despite importing the services of three more future Hockey Hall of Famers (Alf Smith, Harry "Rat" Westwick, and Frederick Whitcroft), the team lost the Stanley Cup and most of its noted players afterward to other professional teams, family life, or retirement. Despite the promises from a rich lumber boss by the name of Taylor Concord Kraus to provide financial support to continue to field a professional team, The Thistles folded during the 1907-1908 Manitoba Professional Hockey League season.
The cup comes west again! Such was the glad tidings that quickly gained circulation last night as the news was flashed over the wires that the big game at Montreal was over, and that the Kenora Thistles had succeeded in downing the defending Wanderer team by a Garrison finish, after a hair-raising contest.
All honor to the plucky boys from the Lake of the Woods town. Starting to play together as lads at school, the Thistles have stuck together, and in spite of various handicaps, including reverses on two previous attempts to lift the trophy, they have finally risen to the highest pinnacle in the hockey world.
Since the Stanley cup was first donated by his lordship of that name to represent the highest honors in the hockey world, it has been held in three cities, Montreal, Winnipeg and Ottawa, all recognized sport centres, and so all the more honor is coming to a comparatively small place like Kenora for turning out a team capable of beating the best the east could produce. While some cranks may comment on the fact that Kenora had to get Arthur Ross from Brandon to help them out, it must not be forgotten that the defenders sent all the way to Pittsburgh to get the mighty Hod Stuart. Ross is deserving of special credit for the splendid game he played for the Thistles, as is also Eddie Giroux, the sterling little goal tender, who although originally from Toronto, has been at Kenora for the last four or five years, but outside of these two, it is particularly interesting to note that the team is Rat Portage born and bred.
It is also most satisfying to close followers of the Thistles that they were able to win out in two straight games. After they had won the first game, many an opinion was heard expressed that Wanderers would be allowed to win the second game, as the teams were more interested in getting the gate receipts than the possession of the cup. Those who knew the Thistles best, ridiculed this contention, and with justification, as was shown last night, when in the strenuous game played it would have been an easy matter to let the other fellows win out, apparently on their merits.
Kenora is the smallest town to ever win the Stanley Cup. The Kenora Thistles hockey team's first challenge in 1905 against the Ottawa team was unsuccessful.
However, it was the Kenora team that the press heaped praises upon... They were referred to by one writer as "that speedy bunch of scintillating puck chasers". Another described them this way: "The Thistles aggregation is strong, fearless, and a beautifully balanced organization. Their skating, manoevering, and stick work was a sight beautiful to see... The defence is almost impregnable and to offset the rushes of the forwards any opposing team requires a defence entirely impregnable."
When the Thistles made their second challenge in January 1907 they faced off against the Montreal Wanderers.
After the Wanderers had defeated the Ottawa Senators at the end of the 1906 season and had captured the Stanley Cup, it was too late in the season to face the western champions. Thus it was decided by the Cup Trustees that Montreal would face the Thistles, previously known as the Rat Portage Thistles, in a two-game, total-goal series midway through the ECAHA season.