The pro years! 

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Copper Country Hockey History, choose time...
1880s 1890s 1900s


1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2005

1904-1907 The International Hockey League Professionals era

1904 The Palestra ice arena was erected in Laurium, near Calumet; the skate surface was 180 feet by 78 feet; it was built by Nels Ulseth. It was reported to be the first structure ever built in this country specifically for hockey.  It had a seating capacity of 4,000 when at the time, the population of the copper mining town of Calumet was 4,668.  The Palestra name is Greek in origin, denoting "an athletic training center"   

Palestra in Laurium
Palestra1925 s.jpg (40476 bytes)

The first hockey game was played in the Palestra Dec 16, 1904, between the two local representatives of the International Hockey League, Portage Lake and Calumet. Calumet won by a score of 4-3, attendance was 3,000.
            Players and Positions for this Dec 16, 1904 Game at the Palestra in Laurium:
Portage Lake            Position            Calumet
Hern                         Goal                  Nickolson
Gibson                      Point                 MacMillan
Holden                     C. Point             H. Stuart
Lake                         Rover                Mallen
B. Stuart                   Center               Strike
Shields                      R. Wing             Scott
Westcott                   L. Wing             Gardner

Hockey Games played at the Palestra in 1904:
Jan   2, 1904    Calumet  7     Soo 1
Jan 14, 1904    Calumet 10    Canadian Soo 9
Jan 16, 1904    Calumet 13    Soo 2
Jan 25, 1904    Calumet 12    Portage Lake 2    (attendance 3,500)
Feb  6, 1904    Calumet 1      American Soo 4 (First defeat for Calumet on their own ice)    
Feb  7, 1904    Calumet 8      American Soo 2
Feb 18, 1904   Calumet 6      Pittsburg 5
Feb 27, 1904   Calumet 6      Canadian Soo 3

The Palestra was located on the corner of Third and Isle Royal streets in Laurium, Michigan. Gasoline Alley Body shop is located there today and the Bi-Centennial Ice Arena is just across the field on the same side of the street. In 1921, the Palestra was sold, then dismantled and transported by rail to Marquette about 100 miles away. It took just 51 days to do this and rebuild the Palestra in Marquette where it became Marquette's first indoor skate rink.

1903-04 The 1904 Portage Lakes won the American Championship over the Pittsburgh Victorias and the World Championship over the Montreal Wanderers who were the reigning Canadian Champions.  During this season, in 25 games, they scored 258 goals and allowed only 49, with only 2 defeats. J.L. "Doc" Gibson was the leading scorer for Portage Lake.

Portage Lake vs Pittsburg Bankers
PLvsPittsburgBankersDMG4Feb1904s.jpg (79766 bytes)
4 Feb 1904
Daily Mining Gazette

1903-04 Roster & Game Results
1904PortageLakeGames&Roster.jpg (74712 bytes)
The 1904 Portage Lake team members and managers were: 
Back row L-R: N.F. Westcott -Sub, James. Duggan -Trainer, C.E. Webb -Mgr, James R. Dee Pres, J. Linder -Sub
Middle row: Bertram C. Morrison -Rover, W.C. Shields -Rt Wing, J.L. Gibson -Capt & Point, W. Hodgson (Hod) Stuart -Cover Point, C. Bruce Stuart -Center
Front row: C. Ernest Westcott -Lt Wing, William M. (Riley) Hern -Goal.

1903-04 Portage Lake Champ Team
 1903-04 Portage Lake hockey club world champs.jpg (207922 bytes)

18 March 1904 The local newspaper, The Daily Mining Gazette, announces that "the Wanderers of Montreal have challenged the Portage Lakes for the championship of the world." The news report reads: "C.E. Webb, manager of the Portage Lake hockey team, received a communication last night from the manager of the Wanderers of Montreal in which he challenged the Portage Lakes for the championship of the world. The Wanderers are considered to be one of the fastest teams in existence and are anxious to meet the Portage Lake aggregation at any time or place. The expense of bringing the Montreal team here will be very great, but it is thought that this difficulty will be overcome. Mr. Webb will communicate with the Wanderers' management at once and will endeavor to make satisfactory arrangement for a series of games and there is little doubt that the residents for Portage Lake will be able to witness a game for the championship of the world at the Amphidrome some time during the coming week."  Announcement of Wanderers Challenge
PLChallengedByMontreal18Mar1904DMGs.jpg (127565 bytes)
18 March 1904
Daily Mining Gazette


Newspaper Ad for
World's Championship
1904PLvsMontreal ad.jpg (156772 bytes)
20 March 1904
Daily Mining Gazette

Portage Lake decisively won these games 8-4 and 9-2 becoming the 
World's Champions!

The Hancock High School team won the local Amphidrome Cup and were the Champions of Michigan. This 1904 photograph is thought to be the first documented evidence of a black high school hockey player. 

Games as reported in HCH's The Ingot:
Hancock 10 - Quincy Juniors 0
Hancock   3 - Baraga 1
Hancock   3 - Dollar Bay Srs 2
Hancock   8 - Dollar Bay Srs 11
Hancock   6 - Michigan College of Mines (MTU) 1
Hancock   6 - Houghton 3
Hancock 10 - Michigan College of Mines (MTU) 0
Hancock   1 - Houghton 1
Hancock   4 - Houghton 0
Hancock  14 - Calumet 0
Hancock    5 - Houghton 3

Hancock High School 1904 Team
HancockHS StChamps1904 c.jpg (79995 bytes)
Back Row L to R: Meyers - manager; Waara - center; J. Linder - Captain & rover; Carrigan - point.
Middle Row: Steinback -RW; Tamblyn - center point; Black - center; Reid - goal.
Front Row: G. Linder -LW, Guilbault - rover. 
This 1904 photograph is thought to be the first documented evidence of a black high school hockey player
"This picture is so unique, that it is on display in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minnesota."
Census shows there were several families living in this area at the time with the last name of Black.

1904-05 Inaugural season for International (Professional) Hockey League (IHL) consisting of five communities in the United States and Ontario: Houghton Portage Lakes with home ice in the new Amphidrome on Portage Lake and team colors of Green & White; Calumet with home ice in the new Palastra and team colors of Pearl Gray & Cardinal; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with home ice at their local curling rink named the Ridge Street Ice-A-Torium and team colors of Purple & White; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with home ice at their local Curling Rink called and team colors of Red & Black (the following year, they changed their team colors to Red & White); and Pittsburgh, PA with home ice in the Duquesne Gardens and team colors of Red & Blue. (Referees wore yellow sweaters during games.) This professional league attracted many of the best of the Canadian players from the established Canadian amateur leagues to come here to play pro in the US. Every player in the International Hockey League received a salary and some were also given lucrative jobs in the community.  "Hod" Stuart, from Ottawa, Ontario, who was considered by some to be the "greatest hockey player in the world" was paid $1,800 by Calumet to play for the team and manage their rink for the 1904-05 season!  Since the hockey season was only 2+ months long because of the natural ice, most Canadian players returned home to their families and regular jobs in Canada at the end of each season; requiring the IHL managers to organize a new team each season.
  Calumet, led by the Canadian born "Hod" Stuart, won the first league championship, the next two titles in 1905-06 and 1906-07 titles were won by Houghton's Portage Lakes. The Canadian Soo was the weaker club and in fact did not play in the 1905-06 IHL season. 
  The IHL operated for only three seasons, disbanding in the fall of 1907 when Canada established a professional league and drew many players back to Canada to play for their home crowds. Until then, keeping in the European tradition, Canada allowed only amateur status hockey and publicly scorned professionalizing athletics. As quoted in the Copper Country Evening News in 1904, John Ross Robertson of the OHA was reported to have said "for self preservation, the stand of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) against the professionalism of Pittsburgh, Houghton, Calumet and the Soo must be uncompromisingly antagonistic...Any player who figures on any of these teams must be banished from Ontario Hockey." 
  An excerpt from the article written by Daniel S. Mason "The International Hockey League and the Professionalization of Ice Hockey, 1904-1907" and presented at the 1997 North American Society for Sport History conference held at Springfield College.  ..."While the leagues in Canada had been accused of professional practices for several years, it was not until the formation of the Portage Lakes Hockey Club and the International Hockey League in 1904 that open professionalism arrived in hockey. The Portage Lakes Hockey Club would be the flagship team and would be joined by a club from Pittsburgh, which would disband the [amateur]  Western Pennsylvania League in order to enter a team in the new professional circuit.  During the previous season, in 1903-04, exhibition games against the Portage Lakes team had led the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) to ban both the Sault Ste. Marie towns. [the Canadian Soo and the American Soo] As a result, it was likely that the two Soo teams would join the new league, as they would be unable to compete against the Canadian amateur teams.  In the fall of 1903, James R. Dee of Houghton wrote to Pittsburgh to initiate discussion on the formation of a national hockey association. By the fall of 1904 with the possible inclusion of a team from the Canadian Soo, the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News reported that the proposed league would "adapt the name 'International' or something of similar significance" At a meeting held on November 5, 1904, prominent business leaders from Pittsburgh, the Canadian Soo, and Northern Michigan considered franchises for a number of cities including Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, and Duluth. Eventually, the league accepted teams from Houghton, Pittsburgh, the two Soos; and Calumet, the nearby civic rival of Houghton.  In addition, a revenue-sharing plan suggested by the Canadian Soo--that gate receipts be divided in a 60-40, home-visitor split--was adopted by the league.  Revenue sharing would make the long journey to Pittsburgh more palatable, given the potential gate money that could be generated in that city's commodious [5,000 seating capacity] Duquesne Gardens....." ..."Local businesses [in the five communities] took advantage of the league's popularity, by installing private telephones in hotels and saloons that allowed reports to be relayed directly from the arenas. [such as the Dunn Bros. of Fifth Street in Houghton]  Similarly, railway companies scheduled extra excursions to and from nearby IHL communities, both before and after games, arranged for spectators to travel the longer distances for games against league rivals...." The Copper Range Railroad charged fifty cents for fare between Houghton and Calumet, 15 miles apart; one game between the two rivals in 1905, carried eighteen cars full of passengers. The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic RR charged six dollars for fare between Houghton and the American Soo and $6.50 from Calumet to the American Soo and back. 

1904-05 Portage Lakes IHL Pro Team
Members of this team were:
Bruce Stuart, Fred Lake, Harry Bright, Bert Morrison, Barney Holden, Charles Liffiton, William Cooney Shields, Lorne Campbell, John "Doc" Gibson, Joe McMaster, Ernest Westcott, Andy Haller, William Riley Hern -Goal. This team played 24 games: 17 Wins, 7 Losses, 2 Ties.

1904-05 Portage Lake Team
1904-05PortageLakeIHL_s.jpg (69358 bytes)
Standing Lt to Rt: Hod Stuart, Mgr Charles E. Webb, "Doc" John L. Gibson.
Seated Lt to Rt: Ernest Wescott, William Cooney Shields, Bruce Stuart, William Riley Hern, Bert Morrison.

1905  The green and white Portage Lake team of Houghton, Michigan, sent word to the Stanley Cup Committee Board of Governors challenging the Ottawa Silver Seven to a championship game according to an article written
in the local news in 1977 by Michigan Tech information director, and local hockey historian, Mr. Rene Adams.Stanley Cup ring 1893.jpg (51547 bytes)
The Stanley Cup had been introduced in Canada in 1893. Pictured is a 1893 Stanley Cup Player Ring (from the Montreal Hockey Club who were the first winners of the Stanley Cup). In Canada's dogged commitment to keep hockey an amateur sport, the Portage Lakes were denied the opportunity to play for the Cup because the Portage Lakes were not amateurs. The Portage Lakes openly advertised that they would pay for hockey players to live in the Mining rich Copper Country here in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula and skate for their team.                       

Original Stanley Cup 1893 to 1969

This priceless Cup was originally purchased for 10 guineas in England or $48.67. It was a gold-lined silver bowl 7 1/2  inches high by 11 1/2 inches in diameter. This original bowl became too brittle to use and was retired in 1969 and replaced by a replica; this original is housed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Lord Stanley left these instructions with an aide in a letter when he donated the Cup:
'I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada,'' he wrote. ''There does not appear to be any such outward sign of a championship at present and considering the general interest which matches now elicit and the importance of having the game played fairly and under rules generally recognized, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team.''

1904-05 The Calumet Team from Laurium won the first International Professional Hockey League Championship!
Members of the 1904-05 Calumet IHL Pro Team were:
Fred Strike, Ken Mallen, Hod Stuart, Jimmy Gardner, Reddy McMillan, Bob Scott, William Cooney Shields, Lal Earls, -- McCabe, -- Sylvester and Goalie Billy Nicholson who played all 24 games.
Calumet's 1904-05 season record: 
18 Wins, 5 Losses, 1 Tie (tied with Portage Lake). According to the newspaper in March 1905, the Calumet team had a net profit of $2,000 at the end of this season.

1905 Calumet IHL Pro Team
Calumet1904-05team s.jpg (110494 bytes)
Standing L-R: Joe Ziehr -Trainer, Charles Thompson -Mgr, "Red" McMillan, Hod Stuart, "Lal" Earls, Johnson Vivian -Pres.
Center Row L-R: Dr. Scott, William Nicholson, Jimmy Gardner.
Front Row L-R: Fred Strike, Ken. Mallen. 

1905 Hancock High School were winners of the local Amphidrome Cup & State Champions.

Games according to the HCH's The Ingot
Hancock 9 - Michigan College of Mines 0
Hancock 1 - Houghton 2
Hancock 0 - Houghton 2
Hancock 2 - Houghton 1
Hancock 3 - Houghton 1
"After defeating all the other teams in the Copper Country, Hancock met and defeated Houghton"

A team must win it [Amphidrome Cup] three years in succession to have permanent possession of it, and as Hancock had already won it for two years in succession... [and] after defeating all the other teams in the Copper Country, Hancock met and defeated Houghton" so that Hancock won the permanent possession of the Amphidrome Cup.

1905 Hancock High School
Amphidrome Cup Winners &
State Champions
HancockCentralHighs1904-05Champs of NW s.jpg (93766 bytes)
Players: Reid -Goal & Capt, Joe Linder -Point, Tamblyn -Cover Point, Steinback -Rover, George Linder -Center, Dwyer -Rt Wing, E Waara -L Wing, Pelto & Mette were spares.  

1905-06 The Portage Lake team won the International Hockey League professional Championship Title. During this season, the Portage Lake Hockey Team challenged the Montreal Wanderers, then Canadian champions, to a series of two games, one to be played in Houghton and other at Montreal. Portage Lake won both contests, thus they were the Worlds Champions. They sent word to the Stanley Cup Committee Board of Governors challenging Montreal to a championship; they were denied the opportunity, again, because of the Portage Lake team's professional status. 

Pictured here is this Portage Lake IHL Pro Team: "Champion 1906  International League" 

Clock wise from top left corner: Bruce Stuart -captain & center, Barney Holden -cover point, .. McNemara -manager, "Grindy" Forrester -point, Riley Hern -goalie, Joe Hall -right wing, Harry Bright -rover, James Duggan -trainer, Walter A. Forrest -spare, Fred Taylor -rover, Fred Lake -left wing.
There is a picture of the Amphidrome ice rink in the middle, it says " Home of the Portage Lake Hockey Team"  
Portage Lake played 20 games, with 15 Wins, 5 Losses.

1906 Portage Lake IHL Champions
1906 Portage Lake Intl League Champs.jpg (60009 bytes)

Members of the IHL Pro Calumet Team 1905-06 were:
William "Cooney" Shields, Dr. Robert Scott, Jimmy Gardner, Fred Strike, "Harry" Bellefeuille, Edmund Decorie, -- McDonald, Con Corbeau, Ken Mallen, James Mallen, and Goalie Billy Nicholson who played all 21 games; plus one game each for players: Lorne Campbell, -- Larson, "Hod" Stuart, Joe Linder, -- Milne. 
Calumet played 21 games with 4 Wins, 17 Losses.

Please Contact webmaster if you have a picture of this 1905-06 Calumet team.
In 1905, the Portage Lake team challenged for the Stanley Cup. Members of the 1906 Ottawa Silver Seven Stanley Cup holders were:
 Lt to Rt: Smith, Armstrong, Harvey Pulford, Gilmore, A. Smith, Frank McGee, A. Moore.

Ottawa Silver Seven
 Stanley Cup Holders 1906
OttawaSilver7 1906.jpg (25425 bytes)

1906 Hancock Central High School won the local Amphidrome Cup and the Michigan Championship Title. 
Even though Joe Linder was a Senior at Hancock HS, he was not eligible to play on this team because he had played 4 years already, since he was in the 8th grade, so he was appointed Coach.
Jan 23 at the Palace rink HCH 4 - Hubbell City 3
Jan 26 at the Palace rink HCH 9 - Baraga HS 1
Jan 29 at the Palace rink HCH 7 - Dollar Bay Shamrocks 4
Feb 21 at the Amphidrome HCH 2 - Houghton HS 4
Feb -- HCH 7 - Houghton 2
Feb 13 at the Palestra in Calumet HCH 6 - Calumet 1
(HCH had played 12 games by this time as per The Ingot.
Feb -- at the Palace rink HCH 5 Dollar Bay team 6
Feb 22 at the Palace rink HCH 7 - Calumet 5
Amphidrome Cup Series:
March 6 at the Amphidrome HCH 3 - Houghton 3
March 8 with 1/2 inch water on ice HCH 2 - Houghton 1
March 10 practice game at Palace HCH 10 Dollar Bay Shamrocks 3
March 12 at the Amphidrome HCH 1 Houghton 1
March -- at the -- HCH 2 Houghton 2
March 16 at the -- HCH 6 Houghton 5
Time of halves: 20 & 30 minutes. 
Games for the Amphidrome Cup are said to have brought in $700 per game according the 1907 The Ingot.

1905-06 Hancock Central High
Champions of Michigan
HancockCentralHS1905-06MiStChamp s.jpg (79436 bytes)
Top Row Lt to Rt: NicKila -Point, M.J. Walsh -Mgr., Joe Linder -Coach, George Linder -Center, Goldsworthy -R.Wing.
Sitting Middle: Rompf -Point, Mette -Goal, Bogan -Rover, Waara -L.Wing.
Front: Tamblyn -Capt & C.Point, Pelto -R.Wing. 

1906 There was a Second Hancock High School team who were Champions of the Second High School teams of the Copper Country this year again. Players on this Second team were: Pierce -goal & mgr, Wilmot & Watson -Point, Wolfsky Cover Point & Capt, Pelto, Exley & Goldsworthy -Rovers, Maclean -Center, Exley & Pelto -Rt Wing, Weismiller -L Wing. They played games with Houghton High School's Second team. Players on Houghton HS Second team were: ....

1906 There was a youth team from Hancock called the Senators, they played eight games and were undefeated. The younger high school players on this team were: Walter Larsen, Adolph Weismiller , Walter Exley and Oscar Fred. The Funkey Hardware Company presented each player on this winning team "with a fine new hockey stick".

1906 Hancock High School had two girls teams that practiced every Saturday morning at the Palace Rink.

1906 Hancock High School Girls Teams

Ethel Carrol & Detta Morrison -Goal, Lyle Noble & Lena Balmer -point, Florence Funkey & Estelle Wagner -Cover Point, Ruby Krause & Rose Chamberlain -Rover, Linna Whittle & Lilian Scott -Center, Winnie Burkman & Anita Coughlin -Left Wing, Cecil Light & Jean Scott -Rt Wing, Lillie McLean & Jean McLennan.

1906-07 The Portage Lake team won the International Hockey League professional Championship Title.  After the IHL played from 1904-1907, the professional league broke up. When Canada changed their rules to allow professionalism in hockey, many of the IHL stars moved back home to Canada to continue to play professional hockey on Canadian teams. Click here to see a list of all North American professional teams from 1904 to present. Following this season, a Portage Lake team was still formed every year, but this team played as an amateur team. To this day, there is still a Portage Lake adult men's team

1906-07 The Portage Lake team won the International Hockey League Championship Title. Their home ice was the original Amphidrome in Houghton.

Members of the 1906-07 Portage Lake team pictured are: 
Top 3 L-R: Jas M Duggan -Trainer;
Darcy Regan -Goal 24 games, 2 shutouts;
John T. McNamara -Mgr.
Middle 2 L-R
Fred W. Taylor -Cover Point 23 games 14 goals;
Barney Holden -Point 20 games, 3 goals.
Middle 4 L-R
Grindy Forester -Right Wing 22 games, 15 goals;
Goldy Cochrane -Rover 17 games, 12 goals; 
C. Bruce Stuart -Capt. Centre 23 games, 17 goals; 
Fred E. Lake -Wing.
Bottom 1: Jack Descarie -Spare.

Others who played this season with the Portage Lake team:
"Tuff" Bellefeuille 2 games, 0 goals (played 3 games with Calumet)
Harry Bright 4 games, 3 goals
Harry Brown 5 games 0 goals
Con Corbeau 2 games, 0 goals (played 13 games with Calumet)
Doc Gibson 2 games, 0 goals
Cliff Hudson 1 game, 0 goals
Dick Wilson 2 games, 1 goal

Portage Lake 1906-07 
IHL Championship Team

1906-07PortageLakeIHL.jpg (67788 bytes)
Photo Courtesy of SIHR 
Members of the 1906-07 IHL Pro Calumet team were:
Bert Morrison, -- McDonald, W. Bellefeuille, William "Cooney" Shields, Edmund Decorie, Dr. Robert Scott, Con Corbeau, Ken Mallen, "Tuff" Bellefeuille and Goalie Billy Nicholson who played all 25 games.
The Calumet team played 25 games: 8 Wins, 16 Losses.
Please Contact webmaster if you have a picture of this 1906-07 Calumet team.

Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto 
HHOFbldgToronto.jpg (49412 bytes)

There are six Hockey Hall of Fame players (all from Canada) that played for the Portage Lakes team in the first professional hockey league (1904-1907) called the International Pro Hockey League (IHL or IPHL). Those Portage Lake players in the Hockey Hall of Fame are: John L. "Doc" Gibson, Bruce Stuart, Hod Stuart, Riley Hern, Fred Taylor, and Joe Hall. All these players are featured on our local legends page.

1907 Click here to see pictures of more Houghton Hockey Teams 1907-present
1907 Click here to see pictures of more Calumet Hockey Teams 1907-present.


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Web Page designed, researched and maintained by Connie Julien 
2003 ~ 2008 Copper Country Hockey History

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