On This Day in Vancouver History: First Professional Hockey Game

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It was January 5, 1912 when the first professional hockey game was played in Vancouver at the Denman Arena1. The impressive venue (one of the world’s largest) was built in 1911 thanks to the hard work (and family lumber money) of brothers Frank and Lester Patrick.

1911-1912 millionaires
Source: The Story of the Vancouver Millionaires. Photographer: Unknown.

In 1911, the Patrick family sold it’s profitable lumber company, and moved out west to capitalize on an exploding hockey scene ready to be mined for gold. Not long after setting up shop out west, the Patricks endeavored, not only to build a strong hockey club, but also to prop up the entire hockey scene, building leagues and arenas, which they would manage along with the respective clubs that they would own. – The Story of the Vancouver Millionaires

(Left) 1920’s Art Duncan, D – Millionaires. VPL Accession Number: 17979.
(Right) 1920’s Lloyd Cook, D – Millionaires Team Captain. VPL Accession Number: 17991.
Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

In the January 5th match up, the Pacific Coast Hockey League’s Vancouver Millionaires beat the New Westminster Royals 8-3. The Victoria Senators were the only other team in the league at the time.

View of Vancouver (and Denman Arena) from the Rowing Club, 1929.
Archives item# CVA 99-2080. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

Vancouver at Night, From the Rowing Club
View of Vancouver from the Rowing Club in Stanley Park, 2009

The Patrick brothers changed the game of hockey as we know it and while Denman Arena was destroyed by fire in 1936, it’s fairly safe to say that a hockey-loving legacy has gripped this town since that first professional game, one hundred years ago today.

1Chuck Davis’ History of Metropolitan Vancouver

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