WINNIPEG FALCONS DESIGNATED WITH COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS PLAQUE
The 1920 Winnipeg Falcons story was recently honoured with a Commemorative Events plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada at a special ceremony held in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame at the Sport Manitoba Centre. Established in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the historic importance of persons, places and events that have shaped Canada's history.
The announcement was made on behalf of the honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada by The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Member of Parliament for St. Boniface - St. Vital and Minister of Northern Affairs;
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, it is an honour to recognize the national historic significance of the Winnipeg Falcons Hockey Club. A team made up of almost entirely of new Icelandic-Canadians, the Falcons displayed heart, skill and determination, as they rose from their community roots in Winnipeg to become the first Olympic gold hockey medalists at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. With two of the Winnipeg Falcons lost to the war before their historic Olympic triumph, it was an emotional and poignant victory, not only for the team, but for all Canadians."
Through incredible determination and talent, the Winnipeg Falcons rose up from their Icelandic-Canadian roots in Winnipeg's West End where they learned to play hockey, to the bloody fields of Europe during the First World War, and finally home where they would re-group and go on to win Canada's senior amateur championship, the Allan Cup, in 1920. Following this achievement, the team went on to represent Canada at the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Olympics - and on April 26th that same year, the Winnipeg Falcons defeated Sweden in the final to become the first-ever Olympic gold medalists in ice hockey.
Mayor Brian Bowman brought greetings from the City of Winnipeg to the well attended event that included many descendants of the Falcon players. The plaque, recognizing the national historic significance of the Winnipeg Falcons Hockey Club, will be installed at the First Lutheran Church on Victor Street in the West End of Winnipeg. The location is significant as it was the central place of worship for the city's Icelandic community and attended by the Falcon players.
Special thanks to David Grebstad, author of A Confluence of Destinies: The Saga of the Winnipeg Falcons' 1920 Olympic Gold Medal Victory in Ice Hockey
, for nominating the Falcons HC, Jodi Duhard of Parks Canada for organizing the event and to Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame President Don Kuryk for bringing Winnipeg's Icelandic community and Icelandic Canadian Fron advisors Cathie Eliasson, Karen Botting, Jim Busby, into the process. Also, thanks to Rick Brownlee and Richard Harzing at Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and all the volunteers that helped to advise and coordinate this special event. And, thank you to the Fron Society for the spectacular Vinartarta!