Yukon Nuggets

  • Joe Boyle in Dawson City in 1916. Yukon Archives. Green, L.H., #3.

  • Joe Boyle grave. Yukon Archives. Oxford Historical Society, #25.

1905 Yukon Nuggets

Joe Boyle - Stanley Cup 1905

It took vision, bold character, a touch of theatrics, and a lot of money. Big Joe Boyle had all of these qualities and more. Thus, in the winter of 1904, Boyle and ten other Klondikers set out for a 23 day trip to Ottawa. They weren't going to play politics...they were going to play hockey.

In the winter of 1904-05, the Ottawa Silver Seven held title to the Stanley Cup. In the Klondike, hockey was big. The competition was so fierce that local promoters were looking for bigger challenges. Joe Boyle, who had made a fortune in mining, put together a team of seven players, two subs and a playing coach, and challenged Ottawa for the Stanley Cup. The team walked to Whitehorse, took the train to Skagway, a boat to Vancouver and the train to Ottawa, arriving on January 12, 1905.

The next day, game one of the best-of-three was played in the Deys arena in downtown Ottawa. Though badly beaten by a score of 9 - 2, the Klondikers impressed the local press who gave them credit for a job well done, considering the arduous journey they had just completed. Frank MacGee, Captain of the Ottawa team, was a superstar of his day.

Norm Watt, one of the Klondikers, said to an Ottawa reporter after game one... "who the hell is Frank MacGee, he don't look like much to me". Watt would regret that statement for the rest of his days. The final score in game two was Ottawa 23, the Klondikers 2. "Not much" Frank MacGee scored 14 goals...still a Stanley Cup record.

Well, they didn't win the Stanley Cup...these plucky boys from the land of gold. But the two games against the Silver Seven didn't end their hockey tour. They continued to play exhibition games as far east as Nova Scotia and as far south as Pittsburgh. In total, 23 games were played with the Klondikers winning 12, losing 10 and tieing one.

When they returned to Dawson, from Whitehorse on foot, in mid-April, they had covered more than 13 thousand miles. Perhaps that is a Stanley Cup record, considering their various modes of transportation.


A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.