Since 1923 with renowned teams
Article - Since 1923 with renowned teams
It has been exactly 100 years since the first Spengler Cup was carried out. Then no one probably envisioned what an athletic and societal success story had been started in Davos.
At that stage the world was still processing the consequences of World War I. The Davos doctor Dr. med. Carl Spengler saw ice hockey as a means to get enemy war nations closer together and started fundraising for the newly founded tournament in Christmas 1923. Sport was supposed to help put aside the past, look into the future, and bury any animosities.
100 years ago, broadcasting was of course lightyears from today’s possibilities, yet some details about the 1923 premiere, which was known as the “International Ice Hockey Championship Davos”, were transmitted, nonetheless. Four or five teams - depending on source or point of view – participated: Vienna EV, Berlin SC, University of Oxford, host HC Davos as well as Cambridge University, which joined on January 2, after the tournament had already ended and then faced the remaining teams.
These were renowned clubs. Vienna EV maintained an ice hockey section between 1914 and 1985, which was hugely successful, especially in the early years. The Viennese won no fewer than 10 Austrian championship titles between 1922 and 1937. The Austrians may not have triumphed in Davos, but still managed a special entry into the history books by beating host Davos 4-0 in its very first game at its own home tournament.
Another team was Berlin SC, which played its first official ice hockey game in 1908 and won its first German championship in 1912. It was one of many titles – by 1937, 16 more followed, keeping in mind that no championships took place during the years of WWI between 1915 and 1919. Berlin SC left its mark in Davos as well; they finished in 2nd place in 1923, before the Germans took the title in 1924, 1926, and 1928.
The team of Oxford University, which won the premiere in 1923 and added victories in 1925, 1931, and 1932, was influential and successful in its first years as well. During those early years the Brits could count on a name of later prominence - Lester Bowles “Mike” Pearson, who later became a Canadian politician and diplomat. Between April 1963 and April 1968, he was also Canadian prime minister.
And of course, there was host HC Davos as well, which in 1923 was represented by goalie Charlie Fasel, captain Dr. Paul Müller, Albert «Tiger» Geromini, Fritz Kraatz, Alfred Punz, Heini Meng und Alexander «Tuggi» Spengler, and reserve players Morosani, Holsboer, Ruedi, and Rossel.
A quote by Dr. Paul Muller”, who had founded the visitors’ and middle school club Hockey Club Davos in 1921, in “Davoser Revue” showed how the players were active pioneers. “Sport-specific technique and tactics were foreign to us. The equipment was inadequate as well. Our forwards played in shorts with naked legs, the defensemen in regular athletic pants, while we protected our shins and thighs with inserted newspapers.”
Text: SLAPSHOT – das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz Foto: Keystone