Quebec: The Early Years

Quebec: The Early Years

Montreal Before World War Two

Montreal was a major player on the Canadian soccer scene long before the Montreal Manic and the Montreal Impact came on the scene.  Railway teams like Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National had powerful teams as did Grenadier Guards, Vickers, Blue Bonnets, Emard St. Paul, Maisonneuve, Verdun Park, the Aldred Building, Royal Victoria Hospital, Carsteel and across the St. Lawrence, the explosives factory in Beloeil.

Grand Trunk Railway won the national title in 1919.  CPR were in the national final on the losing side in 1923 as were Explosives the following year, while CNR lost in 1928, won the title in 1929 and lost again in 1930.  But in 1935, Verdun Park were victorious as were Aldred Building in 1936, while Carsteel lost in the 1939 final.

Montreal also supplied players for Canada’s national teams, with Joe Kennaway, Eddie MacLaine, Andy Clark, Bill McKean, Dave McKenzie, Alex Smith, Harry Barnes, Malcolm Moon and Jimmie Baillie all representing Canada against the U.S. in 1925 and 1926.  In addition, Hank Noseworthy and Bill Sanford were members of the Canadian team that toured Australia in 1924, while Noseworthy again, and Moon toured New Zealand in 1927.

Many of Montreal’s best players also made their mark in the professional American Soccer League in the U.S., and they included Kennaway, MacLaine, Jimmy Montgomerie, George Jenkins, Jack Renfrew, Ned Tate, Alex Kemp, Bobby Drummond, Bill Westwater, Dave McEachran, Bob McAuley and Johnny Nicol.

A regular part of the scene in those days was the Carls-Rite Cup games played between the Montreal and Toronto All-Star teams, one game in each city in most years, starting in 1914 and continuing until 1931.  Among the many outstanding players who played in these games, in addition to the above, were Artie Wouteresz, Jimmy McLeish, Eddie Stott, Alec Rae, Chic Craigie, Adam Smith and Bob Calder.

Montreal men also played a major role on the national scene in the administration of the affairs of the then Dominion of Canada Football Association.  Fred Barter was the first president of the DCFA in 1912, Craig Campbell was president from 1915 to 1919 and Len Peto from 1935 to 1939, while Tom Mitchell, Neil Hepburn, Jim Keith, Jock Somerville and Horace Lyons also played significant roles. 

On the provincial scene, the Province of Quebec Football Association was formed in 1911 with Fred Barter as president and Joshua Wilson as secretary.  Those were often turbulent times, and in 1929, the DCFA had to step in and appoint a Commission to run the provincial association.  That Commission was led over the years by Jim Keith, Tom Brown, Duncan Cameron, Bill Clapp, Ernest Goat and Bob Walker.  Bob Walker became DCFA President for a few months in 1947.

Some of the more interesting and notable people in Quebec soccer in those years were:

Frank Calder, who became the first President of the National Hockey League in 1917, but before that was deeply involved in soccer in Montreal.  He represented the Montreal and District League at the founding meeting of the Province of Quebec Football Association in 1911. In 1906, he refereed the game between the Montreal All-Stars and the famous English amateur team known as The Corinthians when they toured Canada.

Fred Barter, a Montreal journalist, was the first president of the Dominion of Canada Football Association, today’s Canadian Soccer Association in 1912 and the first president of the PQFA in 1911.

Craig Campbell was president of the Dominion of Canada Football Association from 1915 to 1919, the years of World War One, a time when the DCFA did not hold an annual meeting, so he ran the national association virtually by himself.  Craig Campbell also wrote about soccer for the Montreal Star until his death in 1929.  He was born in Liverpool, England, and came to Canada in 1909.

Joe Kennaway, born in Point St. Charles, played for the CPR team and in 1926 for Canada against the United States in Brooklyn.  Then he moved, like many others, south of the border to play in the United States in the professional American Soccer League.  In the U.S., Kennaway played for Providence and Fall River, and then crossed the Atlantic to become a big star with Glasgow Celtic.  Kennaway won the Scottish League championship twice and the Scottish Football Association Cup three times plus the Empire Cup in his time in Glasgow.  He also played for Scotland against Austria at Hampden Park in 1933 and several times for the Scottish League team.  In his day, he was one of the finest goalkeepers in the world.  On retiring, he coached Brown University in Providence for many years.

Horace Lyons.  In the 20s and 30s, whenever there was an important game played in Montreal, the man in the middle trying to control the action was Horace Lyons.  He came to Canada in 1912, and within a few weeks of his arrival, passed the PQFA test and soon became one of the top referees in the country.  He refereed the international between Canada and the U.S. in 1925.  He was an outstanding referee in Montreal for 26 years. When he turned in his whistle, he became president of the PQFA, then a council member of the DCFA, and from 1947 to 1949, a vice-president of the national body.

Leonard Arthur Peto was Vice-President and General Manager of the Canadian Car & Foundry Company in Montreal.  He founded Montreal Carsteel and played a leading role in the formation of the National Soccer League in 1926.  From 1935 to 1939, he was the President of the Dominion of Canada Football Association and, it is claimed, bailed them out of financial trouble with his own money.  In the early 1940s, he was invited by Senator Donat Raymond to join the board of the Canadian Arena Company, and this led to his becoming one of a three-man committee directing operations of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. In  1946, he attempted to obtain an NHL franchise for Philadelphia and almost succeeded.  He seems to have died in Sonora County, California, in November of 1985.

Sam Chedgzoy was a famous England international with Everton, who coached the Grenadier Guards team in the summer of 1924, then returned to England.  He came back in 1930 after a spell in the United States with New Bedford Whalers, and coached Montreal Carsteel until the outbreak of World War Two.  He died in Montreal and is buried in Deux Montagnes.

The Castonguay Brothers, Roland, Paul Emil and Marcel were a rarity in the years before World War Two, French-speaking Canadians, who not only played soccer, but played it at the highest level in Canada.  Roland, known as “Dempsey” for some reason, was so well regarded that he was among those players chosen as Canada’s Players of the Half Century in a Canadian Press poll in late 1950.  Roland was a winger, as was Marcel, while Paul Emil was a centre forward.  Roland was a member of the Verdun Park team that won the national championship in 1934, and all three brothers were on the losing side in the national final of 1939 with Carsteel.  In 1948, Paul Emil and Marcel were on the winning side with Carsteel.  

The Fitzpatrick Brothers, Charlie, Allan and Larry starred in the mid-1930s.  Charlie at outside right and Larry at centre forward were on the winning side in the national final of 1934 with Verdun Park, and all three brothers were members of the Aldred Building team that won the title in 1935.   Allan Fitzpatrick was also an outstanding badminton player, and was the national badminton team manager from 1966 to 1970 and general manager of the 1982 Commonwealth Games team.

Eddie MacLaine began his career with Albion Rovers in Scotland, and came to Canada in 1924, joining the Grenadier Guards team for one season.  In 1925, after the Guards disbanded, he joined the Maroons and in 1926, Carsteel.  In 1925, he scored the winning goal for Canada against the United States at Alexandra Park in Montreal when Canada won 1–0.  In 1926, he was in the U.S. playing for Providence, but in 1927, rejoined Carsteel, scoring 60 goals in 28 games in the National Soccer League.  On retiring, he turned to management and was secretary of Carsteel when they won the national title in 1948.

Jimmy Montgomerie was born in Scotland, but came to Canada before World War One, and played soccer briefly until the outbreak of the war.  He served in the Canadian military and won numerous honours.  When the war was over, he returned to Montreal to play for the Grenadier Guards in the Inter-Provincial League of the 1920s, but New Bedford Whalers lured him away, and he played in the American Soccer League for many years.

Johnny Nicol came to Montreal from Lancashire, England, when he was 13, and by the time he was 15, had enlisted in the Canadian Army and was soon serving in Europe.  Back in Montreal in 1919, he moved from Rosemount Rovers in the third division to the second, and then spent five seasons in the first division with CPR.  A goalkeeper, he captained the Montreal All-Stars team in 1924 that beat the touring Corinthians from England 4–1.  He later moved to the U.S. to play professionally with Providence.  Returning to Montreal, he captained and managed the Printers in the Montreal First Division in 1930 and 1931.

Jimmy Nelson, like Joe Kennaway, hailed from Point St. Charles and was a goalkeeper. He was a member of the Montreal C.N.R. team that reached the Canadian final three years in a row, winning the title in 1929, but finishing on the losing side in 1928 and 1930 to Westminster Royals.  He was back in the final again in 1935, winning his second national title with the team formed by the Aldred Building.  In addition to soccer, Nelson was also a football star in Montreal with Railroad YMCA and Grand Trunk, where he played flying wing and one season as a quarterback.

George Jenkins was born in England, and in his Montreal days, played centre forward, eventually moving to the U.S. to play for Indiana Flooring of New York in the American Soccer League.  But when he came back to Montreal, he was converted into a goalkeeper, and crossed the Atlantic to play many years for Glasgow Rangers.

Bob McAuley was born in Scotland but grew up in Montreal, where he played for Lachine and Blue Bonnets.  He, too, was lured away to the U.S. to play for Providence and Fall River, and in the fall of 1930, returned to Scotland to play for Glasgow Rangers and later for Chelsea of the Football League.  He also played twice for the Scottish national team.

Bill Westwater came to Canada in 1922 from Scotland after serving in World War One.  Back in Scotland, he played for Hearts, and on arriving in Canada, settled in Toronto before moving to Montreal.  In Toronto, he played for the All-Scots and in Montreal for Carsteel.  Like many others, he moved to the American Soccer League to play for New Bedford Whalers.