Kenora Thistles Stanley Cup Banner Stolen

By Krista Golden

Aside from the usual cries of “[losing team] was robbed”, there has been one Stanley-Cup-related crime from recent memory: the mystery of the missing puck from Patrick Kane‘s game winning goal in the 2010 Cup finals (try convincing Chicago Blackhawks fans that referee Steve Miller didn’t pocket that). Now there’s been another Cup-related crime, and the stolen item is over 100 years old.

First, the back-story: late in the 19th century, a group of gold miners, lumberjacks, and miners formed an amateur hockey club in the western Ontario town of Rat Portage (later named Kenora), located on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Soon they had junior and senior teams, and the senior team became a strong club. They played for the Stanley Cup in 1903 and 1905 (when they became the Kenora Thistles) but lost, but in January 1907 the team challenged for the Cup again and won, defeating the Montreal Wanderers. It made Kenora, with a population of 4,000 at the time, the smallest town to ever boast a Stanley-Cup-winning team.

Unfortunately, their Stanley Cup reign was short lived, as the Wanderers demanded a rematch and defeated the Thistles two months later, taking back the Cup. The Cup-winning team disbanded in 1908, but the Thistles name is still alive in the amateur, junior, and senior teams that call Kenora home today.

Fast forward to August 2012. This past weekend,someone had the chutzpah to steal the Stanley Cup championship banner presented to the old Kenora Thistles in 1907. Ontario Provincial Police report that the crime occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning at Kenora’s Whitecap Pavillion, which housed the 8×3 ft. burgundy and white banner. A Canadian flag and a Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup flag were also stolen (Kenora is the hometown of Kings forward Mike Richards).

Provincial police are urging anyone with information to contact them or the local Crime Stoppers.

And on behalf of hockey fans everywhere: please, whoever you are, return the banner.


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