9:30 p.m., March 15)
Bradley Cup a pewter link to Navan's hockey past
By Fred Sherwin
east end hockey teams will soon be lacing up their skates
to compete for a trophy that dates back to the mid-1920s
and raise a few dollars for a local charity.
Bradley Country Convenience Store owner John
Bradley holds the 92-year-old Bradley Cup
that will be contested at the Navan Memorial
Arena On March 24. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Bradley Cup was established in 1926 by John Thomas Bradley
and put up as a challenge thrown out by the Navan Hockey
Club to a rival club in Vars.
star player at the time was Wally Kilrea who would go
on to play nine seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia
Quakers, New York Americans, Ottawa Senators, Montreal
Maroons and Detroit Red Wings.
member of that team was Nelson Kennedy who passed away
in 2010 at the age of 101.
he died, Kennedy conducted an interview with OrleansOnline.ca
during which he spoke about his recollections of that
very first challenge cup which was a two game, home-and-home
teams put up $100 before the series started, winner take
all. The first game was played on an outdoor rink on Trim
Road across from where The New Oak Tree furniture store
the 1920s, most teams still played with seven members
a side – including a rover – and there were no substitutes.
If a player got injured, the team simply played a man
first game in the 1926 Bradley Cup challenge ended in
a 0-0 tie.
neither team was able to score in regulation during the
second game in Vars, the game went into overtime.
scored the winning goal in double overtime,” Kennedy recalled
during the 2010 interview. “The game took 90 minutes to
play. Everyone was dog tired.”
players ended up splitting the $100 seven ways.
was good money back then. I don’t remember what I did
with my share,” said Kennedy.
Bradley Cup was offered up twice more before the start
of WWII. In 1929, it was won by a team from Cumberland
Village. It was recaptured by Navan four years later and
sat in the J.T. Bradley and Sons store until 1948 when
it was dusted off for a rematch between Navan and Cumberland.
top line on the Navan team was made up of Eric Smith,
Harold Poaps and Shawn Nelson. The second line featured
brothers Basil, Bill and Ken McFadden. The third line
included Lorne Bradley and Syd Smith, while Mervin Dagg
and Lloyd Morrison played on defence. The coach was Eldon
Cup originator John Thomas Bradley holds up
the trophy (circa 1926). Photo provided
Huneault had to play in net for Navan while their regular
goaltender Garret Rivington recovered from Rheumatic fever.
Smith ended up on the team entirely by accident. After
returning home from the war, he enrolled at Queen’s University
in September 1946. He was barely there a month when he
decided to “pack it in” and return to Navan where he was
immediately recruited to play on the hockey team.
recalls the Navan team hardly lost any games at all before
taking on Cumberland for the Bradley Cup.
first game was played on the old outdoor rink on Trim
Road which would end up getting replaced by the town’s
first indoor arena a year later.
to Smith, a couple of hundred people came out to watch
the game which Navan ended up winning 8-0 thanks to a
five goal effort by Smith himself.
were some ticked off I tell ya. I know that, because it
took us forever to play the second game in Cumberland,”
second game in the home-and-home series was eventually
played in mid-March in the old Cumberland Arena. To give
you an idea of the ice conditions, Smith was given a penalty
for splashing an opposing player.
was terrible, there was water all over the place. One
of their players was trying to get the puck and I thought,
‘If you’re going to get the puck then you’re going to
get wet’,” says Smith.
ended up winning the game 1-0, but Navan won the Cup based
on the aggregate score of 8-1.
the French Hill Hockey Club won the Cup in 1959, it was
retired indefinitely and sat on a shelf in J.T. Bradley’s
County Convenience Store until store owner John Bradley
dusted it off in 2016 for a tournament to celebrate the
trophy’s 90th anniversary and raise money for the Hannah
was contested again last year and the Cup will be up for
grabs again this weekend at the Navan Memorial Arena.
six senior men’s teams that will be competing the Cup
will be representing Navan, Vars, Sarsfield, Cumberland,
Hammond and Orléans, Each team will play three games and
the top two teams will play for the privilege of having
their names added to the trophy.
will be asked to pay a nominal admission fee to go toward
the Foundation. There will also be a cash bar, a lunch
and a spaghetti supper.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)