Canada has always taken its hockey very seriously. Today we recognize the sport as a source of national pride and it was no different a century ago. To the sports fan, Olympic medals represent the pinnacle of achievement and such medals maintain that folkloric ambiance for the collector. Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. is pleased to present an assortment of historically important hockey-related medals in their upcoming Toronto Coin Expo 2018 Fall Sale.
The 1932 Winter Olympic Games were held in Lake Placid, New York with a mere four teams competing for ice hockey gold. With an especially strong American team, fired on by the home crowd, the games were no walk in the park for the team from Winnipeg that earned the right to compete for our country by becoming Canadian senior hockey champions in 1931. This team, considered to be too defensive for the games by some, was proudly overseen by the President of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association, E. A. Gilroy, to whom the medals in this sale were awarded.
The Winnipeg Hockey Club defeated their USA rivals in the round robin by a score of 2-1 in heroic fashion, then met them in the final. They would be Olympic champions on the merits of that victory after the gold-medal game was called after three scoreless overtime periods.
In 1936 the Olympic games were held in Germany where many more nations were able to participate with decreased travel expenses. Great Britain stunned the favoured Canadian team with a 2-1 second round victory, allowing them to eventually claim gold without having to play Canada again. The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, with Gilroy now as its President, would appeal this seemingly bizarre rule to no avail, leaving Canada with the silver after defeating an American team in the final round.
Included in the sale are a rare bronze participation medal from the 1932 Lake Placid games; a silver participation medal and a bronze participation medal from the 1936 games in Germany, both rare pieces; a gold Past-President’s medal from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association; and a bronze Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame medal awarded to Gilroy in 1987.
It doesn’t get much better for those interested in Canadian hockey history, especially with the connection to these integral Winter Olympic Games. These items will be presented with the rest of our Toronto Coin Expo 2018 Fall Sale items September 27 and 28 at the Toronto Reference Library.