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What Made The Edmonton Grads So Successful?

The Edmonton Grads was a famous Canadian women’s basketball team. This team was coached by Percy Page. It was the best team that won 95% of the basketball matches it played. It started playing in 1915 and played till 1940. In the journey of twenty-five years, this team won many national and international matches. It also won the Underwood International Trophy in the USA for about seventeen years i.e. from 1923 to 1940.

The name of the team was selected in 1915 when the high school girls started playing outside the school. When the sport was invented, basketball was a game that was considered a game for boys. But Edmonton Grads proved that there is no sport that is specific to only men. Women can also prove themselves by taking part in different activities and sports.

Origin of Basketball

Basketball is a part of sports that was invented by James Naismith. He introduced this game at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School on 1st December 1891. This game requires tossing to start it and to decide which team will start playing first. The rules for this game were defined by James Naismith.

The rules of basketball were published on 15th January 1892. Basically, basketball is a winter sport as it is preferred to be played in cold weather. But this game is also played in summer on summer playgrounds at different levels. After the introduction of this game, it started being played by different schools at national and international levels.

History of Edmonton Grads

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When Edmonton Grads started playing, there was no origin of the championship of basketball for women. It is because this game was considered as the sport of men i.e. it could only be played by male players at the national and international level. But Edmonton Grads proved that women should not be stopped from playing any sport or taking part in any activity.

The performance of Edmonton Grads opened the doors of sport for women of different states and countries. It made the women realize that they are worth it. The women can also fulfill their dreams and the women that are interested in sports can easily and freely take part in it as the modern world supports the efforts of women today.

The origin of Edmonton Grads was in a high school where the young women were fond of playing basketball. The school did not stop them from playing basketball. It arranged a skilled coach for these young girls so that they could be trained efficiently and could be successful in this field.

These young girls first started playing in Alberta high schools. In 1915, the graduated students were provided the opportunity to play basketball as the Commercial Athletic Society was formed for the athletes. This society was open to different members of several business schools as well as the graduates and students of MacDougall Commercial. In this way, the word “Grads” appeared in the team name.

Reason Behind Success

The major reason behind the success of the Edmonton Grads is practice, a farm team system, and a low turnover rate. This team never lost hope and kept practicing to win the match. It started playing in 1915 but never won an international championship for about seven years. It kept on practicing and improving itself.

This team won its first national championship in 1922 where it defeated London Shamrocks. This was the time when the Canadians started believing in this team. The team itself got motivated which made it successful. Moreover, no turnover on the team also resulted in making it successful. It is because no turnover resulted in building good relations among the players and amazing coordination among them.

There are many other reasons behind the success of this team where these reasons may include depth, cohesion, and continuity. These reasons have been ensured by the feeder system. 

Moreover, the coordination of the coach and the players was also the reason behind the success of the Edmonton Grads. Page, coach of the team, and his wife were like a family to the team members. That’s why there was no turnover on the team and it became so successful.

Practice Routine

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No doubt, practice makes a man perfect. This motive was followed by the Grads where the players used to practice a lot so that they could play well and win against the opponent with good scores. They used to practice twice a day except for the summer season.

They were determined to practice till they got sure that they did well. Sometimes, they also practice three times a week when needed. They used to practice three times a week at the time when Page started his political campaign.

Players In The Team

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All the players in the team were amazing, greatly motivated, and skilled. Their hard work resulted in the success of the team at the national and international levels. The names of the players included in the first team were Iola Mitchell, Geraldine Reid, Mary Bremner, Ethel Anderson, Ella Osborne, and Nellie Batson.

All the players were highly capable of playing basketball at the national and international levels. They had amazing qualities of determination and sportsmanship. Due to the capabilities of players and coordination among them, the team won seventeen world titles in total.

This women’s team not only played against women but also men. It played nine matches with the men among which it won seven matches. Altogether, thirty-eight women played for this Canadian team which led to its success all over the world. The only motive for the women of this team was “play basketball, dream basketball, and think basketball”. This motive made it successful.

No doubt, this 20th-century basketball team had the capacity of attracting the crowd and catching the eye of everyone. They had the capacity of bringing fame to the city. The success of this team was also reported in the newspapers.

Kay MacBeth

If you are a fan of Edmonton Grads, you must know Kay MacBeth. She is the last surviving member of the Edmonton Grads and is ninety-five years old. She was a great athlete and had remarkable sport skills. She was a part of a very special team i.e. Edmonton Grads who joined the team when she was a teenager.

No doubt, the team of teenagers made Edmonton Grads so successful. It is because teenagers are so devoted to the things they are interested in. All the members of this team were young and devoted to their goals which made them world champions in the 1920s.

She was a part of a remarkable team that played hundreds of games against men’s and women’s teams. This team defeated many challengers from Europe, the US, and Canada. Moreover, it won 95% of the matches it played against its challengers.

Many Canadians and other people may not be aware of the team Edmonton Grads but the release of the Heritage Minute spot in honor of International Women’s Day has made this team more famous. There are many people who are not aware of the personal life of the team members of Edmonton Grads. It is because their life was never so focused.

Early Years of Edmonton Grads

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Edmonton Grads appeared as a remarkable basketball team in 1915 where it caught the eye of a lot of people and became famous due to its remarkable performance in the future. The early basketball matches by Edmonton Grads were played in Alberta where they became provincial champions.

The basketball teams were provided with the right to challenge the title holders at any time of the year. But the gap of three months was required for rematches if defeated. Due to the remarkable performance of Edmonton Grads, it held the trophy for the next several years.

In 1917, this team appeared as a great challenge for other basketball teams as it enhanced its skills. The reputation of this team grew due to beating all of its challenges in a basketball game. No other team was able to defeat this team that’s why Edmonton Grads retained the provincial champion status for a very long time.

In 1919, Edmonton Grads was challenged by the basketball team of the University of Alberta Varsity. In this match, the Edmonton Grads were defeated by the other team with two points. Due to this reason, the Grads lost the trophy. But the Grads had a rematch the same year in which it won against the basketball team of the University of Alberta Varsity. In this way, the Grads gained their title back.

The basketball team of the University of Alberta Varsity again challenged the Grads where they again lost the match against the Grads. Another match was immediately demanded by the opposite team by saying that the Grads were having a younger high school-aged player which is improper. After another basketball match, the Grads lost the match along with their title.

Championships Won by Edmonton Grad

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The Edmonton Grads was a very famous and successful team that won seventeen world titles. It played twenty-four provincial championships among which it won twenty-three. It also earned the winning streaks of 147 and 78 games which were separated by only a single loss.

No other team could defeat the Edmonton Grads from 1926 to 1940 in the Western Canadian Championships. In the Canadian Championships, it played thirty-one games among which it won twenty-nine games without losing a series. This team played a total of 522 matches from 1915-1940 among which it lost 20 and won 502.

This Canadian team also played in the Underwood International tournament and no doubt, it won. Due to winning this tournament, it was known as the “North American Championship” for about seventeen years. Because of the remarkable performance of this team, it was decided to let the team keep the trophy permanently. No doubt, it was a great honor to keep the trophy permanently.

Due to the guidance of J. Percy Page, the Grads got 4 exhibition Olympic titles along with winning all twenty-seven matches. It also played against men where it only lost one match and won seven matches. 

Though, this team won many titles and trophies but never got a medal. It is because women’s basketball was not yet an Olympic sport at that time.

Underwood Trophy

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After the introduction of basketball in sport, the first match between American and Canadian women’s basketball teams was played in 1923 for the first international Underwood Trophy. This match caught the eye of a lot of people. The supporters and fans of the Edmonton Grads wanted this team to win at cost.

As we know, the Edmonton Grads never disappointed its fans and supporters. It worked hard to win this match at any cost. It practiced a lot as every team member enhanced his skills and made sure that the team could win against the Americans.

When the day arrived, all the people were so excited. The Canadians wanted the Edmonton Grads to win this match against the Americans and prove themselves the true Canadians. The performance of the Grads was remarkable during the whole match.

The unity and teamwork of the Grads made it able to defeat the American women’s basketball champion team. It was a proud moment for all the Canadians when the Grads won against the Americans. The two-game score was 53-33 when the Edmonton Grads defeated the opponent. In this way, the Grads became the inaugural Underwood Trophy winners.

Popularity

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Image Source – thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

The remarkable performance of the Grads at the national and international level made it so popular. Each member of the team became famous as all the members played a vital role and contributed to the success of the team. The skills and devotion of every member made the team popular.

The Grads were also invited in Paris to the summer Olympic games in 1924. No doubt, the Grads won every single match played there. This team defeated a lot of women basketball teams from Lille, Strasbourg, Roubaix, and Paris. The Grads went on holiday after their final match. For holidays, they went to Europe.

When the Grads returned from holidays, it was awarded the title of the world’s basketball champion. This title was awarded to the team till the next world games. No doubt, popularity, and fame also resulted in gaining a lot of wealth. The Grads not only became popular but also wealthy and successful.

When the Grads returned home with the title of world champions, the team gained a lot of importance in its country. It also gained a lot of new sponsors. The Edmonton Grads also got financial support in Canada. Edmonton Arena was secured by Page as the permanent home for the team members.

Role of Percy Page

Percy Page was a Canadian who was the coach of Edmonton Grads. He was the best basketball coach and teacher. He played a vital role in the success of Edmonton Grads as he was leading this team. He made the team responsible and helped a lot in practicing basketball. He taught different techniques and tricks to the players for winning the game efficiently and successfully.

Not only Percy Page, but also his wife played a vital role in the success of this basketball team. Both of them considered the team members as their family members and always treated them as a family. They both played a vital role in setting the routine of practicing basketball.

No doubt, Percy was a hardworking person who started the profession as a coach in 1914. In 1914-1915, he was the coach of the basketball team of senior girls in McDougall Commercial High School. He continued to coach this team which was named The Edmonton Grads in the future. It was all due to Percy who trained these girls and made their team one of the best and successful teams in the sport.

Inspiration For Others

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The Grads team was not only the favorite of women but also men. The players of this team were liked and appreciated by every single person. They were not only an inspiration for the players of basketball but also a model for all the teams of girls out there in the world.

The success and attitude of the team players gave the pleasure to demonstrate the potential of the game in the development and growth of the finest type of womanhood. The devotion and performance of this team-inspired a lot of people especially girls to take part in sports and prove themselves.

Disbandment

Due to war, the Edmonton Arena was overtaken by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. It is because this place needed to be used for wartime. We know that Edmonton Arena was the permanent house for the team. But it was taken over for wartime use.

World War 2 disrupted the routine of the Edmonton Grads playing basketball matches. The basketball competition was affected all over Europe and beyond due to the war. The war also resulted in the cancellation of a great number of championships and tournaments. It resulted in making it difficult for the basketball team to grow.

The war also made it difficult for the team members to travel from one place to another. Due to the inconvenience of traveling, the basketball teams could not play basketball matches at the international level.

Despite all the problems due to war and the decline in sports, the efforts of Page were proved by the Edmonton Grads. His efforts resulted in finding a suitable and remarkable competition over the years. There was no other basketball team that could be better than the Edmonton Grads in history.

Due to war problems, the dominance of the Edmonton Grads in basketball was no longer being attracted by the audience. Moreover, the people were not giving it the same attention as before. The regular attendance of the game also started to shrink. So, the Grads decided to disband in 1940 after winning their last Canadian championship.

Why did Edmonton Grads Stop Playing?

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The Edmonton Grads stopped playing due to World War 2. There were also some other reasons behind this decision of the Grads which also include the loss of their arena. In 1940, this team decided to stop playing basketball due to falling attendance and the demands of the war.

We can say that it became necessary for the Edmonton Grads to quit because they want the people to remember them forever. There was no future of basketball being seen at that time. It is because the people started losing interest in basketball because of the decline in sport due to the war.

Page and the team tried a lot to gain its previous attention but it was a very difficult task. So, the Grads decided to disband in May 1940. We can say that the team became disheartened, that’s why it left the sport. But, no doubt, it was one of the best basketball teams. It was considered the finest basketball team in the world that ever stepped out on a floor.

Conclusion

The hard work, devotion, and practice done by the Grads made it so successful. It never lost hope even though it never won for about six to seven years since it started playing basketball. The coordination among the team members and low turnover rate also led to its success at the national as well as international levels. 

Moreover, it made it capable of winning world titles, awards, and trophies due to its remarkable performance and sportsmanship. This 20th-century Canadian team will be remembered for ages due to its successful and remarkable performance in the past. The Grads were not only famous in Canada but also in other countries.

The Grads are remarkable and skilled players. Their performance not only made them famous and successful but also wealthy. They were supported financially by Canada. They also had their personal Arena which was considered their permanent home. But all these things were destroyed by World War 2.

Due to this war and its effects, the team decided to disband. No doubt, this team is still remembered in different cities and countries due to its remarkable performance in sport. The efforts of Page will also be remembered that made this team successful in the world. 

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