CORNWALL, Ontario – Last season marked the 20th anniversary of the Fred Page Cup, a distinguished trophy given out to the best team of a four team tournament.
Making up the tournament quad would be the respective season champions from Ontario’s Central Canada Hockey League, Quebec’s Junior AAA Hockey League, the Maritime’s Junior Hockey League and the team whose city has won hosting capabilities. The winner moves on the Royal Bank Cup, Canada’s national Junior “A” championship.
Most of us who follow junior hockey have heard of the tournament. Some have even taken part in some aspect be it spectator, volunteer or player. Some have read about it in the newspaper. The question is though, do you know how the Fred Page Cup came to be? Do you even know who Fred Page is? Well, grab a cold pop and sit back while Marchy tells you the tale.
Frederick Page was born September 29, 1915 in Port Arthur and at the time, Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario. In January of 1970, Port Arthur, the town of Fort William, and a couple of nearby townships, joined forces to become what we know as Thunder Bay.
Even though Page was trapped further north than most, he didn’t let his unique location get in the way of his love for hockey. Furthermore, there was no shortage of the game in the area. Page’s first championship trophy came in 1935 under the wing of the Port Arthur Juniors who claimed the title for the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association. After an early choice to retire from the game as a player in 1939, Page turned his hand to refereeing and coaching. For the next 15 years, he switched back and forth from coaching and referring in the Fort William Minor Hockey Association and refereeing in the aforementioned Thunder Bay league.
His skills as an official caught the eye of national attention. Page received and accepted an invitation to keep control of games in the 1958 Memorial and Allen Cup playoffs.
The 50’s and 60’s got even busier for Page. The early 1960’s saw him make the move out west to British Columbia and turn his focus to the administration part of the game. He was executive staff and sometimes president of various leagues in the area. He also began work nationally with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and coordinated Canadian team entries into European tournaments. That job grew into the 1970’s as Page continued to negotiate teams and tournaments between the two continents. It grew so much that Page was elected to represent Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Page helped organize World Championships and helped grow hockey internationally during the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. He was also the chairman for the hockey competition for the 1972 games in Sapporo, Japan. Back home, Page showed no signs of slowing down as he helped form the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League in 1973 which eventually merged with the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in 1997 and is now the league that we know today. Their league championship is also named in his honour.
Fred Page played a pretty important role in our country for not only in development of hockey but in branding and awareness. His contribution throughout the entire country for junior and amateur hockey spans over seven decades. For his monumental efforts, Page was elected in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a honourary member in 1993. Fred Page died in 1997. His selfless efforts to the game we love will never be forgotten. We will keep Page’s memory alive as long as there’s kids playing hockey.
The 2015 Fred Page Cup will take play in Cornwall, Ontario. The Central Canada Hockey League’s Cornwall Colts are eager to hit the ice and represent the host city and keep the Fred Page flame burning.