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|Posted: 06/26/19 1:29 pm ::: Naismith's 'finest team that ever stepped on the floor'
This is a terrific article on the most successful sports team in Canadian history, which deserves to be read in full:
The Edmonton Grads were champions long before the Toronto Raptors
|The Edmonton Commercial Graduates, an amateur side founded in the fall of 1914, won 502 of 522 games they played in before they were disbanded at the start of the Second World War.
James Naismith, the Ontario-born doctor who invented basketball, called the Grads the “finest team that ever stepped on the floor.”
. . . the Grads won the North American championship over the Cleveland Favorite Knits, who arrived in Edmonton clad in shorts bearing the words “World Champs.” The Grads beat the pants off of them . . . .
Over a quarter of a century, they compiled a record of 114-6 against challengers from the United States. They won 10 unofficial world championships, 18 Canadian championships and were awarded demonstration-sport gold medals at four Olympic Games.
They were easily the most successful team in Canadian sports history.
. . . the Grads won 96 per cent of their games. They trotted the globe before the Globetrotters, travelling more than 200,000 kilometres to face challengers all over the world.
They went 27-0 in four Olympiads and won games by an average score of 69-11.
The Grads players were never paid, nor did they ever receive government grants or gate receipts. They worked as teachers and stenographers and in department stores during the day and practised for two hours three nights a week.
Further for nostalgiaphiles, here is the National Film Board of Canada's 1987 documentary on the Edmonton Grads, called Shooting Stars: