Hockey at the University of Toronto: How the sport has been woven into the cultural fabric of a university for over a century

The University of Toronto (UofT) is Canada’s largest university, with an enrollment of over 75,000 students spread across three campuses in Toronto and Mississauga. It is also one of Canada’s oldest academic institutions, having been founded in 1827. Given its size, its age, and the location of its main campus in downtown Toronto, the university has a long and fascinating history and has been deeply involved in many aspects of Canadian society – including Canada’s most culturally significant sport, hockey.

UofT recently released an impressive digital archive that provides video and photographic material on key events and figures in the university’s history, including people such as Marhsall McLuhan and Margaret Atwood. It also captures many of the more routine, yet meaningful, campus activities. Hockey features prominently, with a search turning up 274 items.

These images of hockey at the university demonstrate how the sport has been woven into the fabric of UofT life for over a century. Of course, this does not mean that it was inclusive of the diverse student base – the subjects of the photos are mostly white, and women, despite playing the sport at UofT since at least the 1910s, appear in far fewer images than do men. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of fascinating material in the archives and after the jump I present some of the more notable images.

One of the really great features of the archive is that it highlights the rich history of women’s hockey at UofT. While women only began playing for a World Championship in 1990 and were not admitted to the Olympics until 1998, they have been playing in Canada for over a century – many, seemingly, at UofT. The following photos document some of the women who have played hockey at the university since at least the 1910s:

1905: This report from the Women’s Athletic Council notes that there were insufficient numbers to run a women’s hockey league in 1904-05. This suggests that organized women’s hockey was played at UofT previously, prior to 1904 (

~1910: The UofT Varsity women’s hockey team (

~1910: A portrait of Minnie Louise Barrie, a player for UofT’s Varsity women’s team (,0,496,296)

1926: UofT women’s intercollegiate hockey team (

1947: A women’s intramural team from Medicine takes on an unknown opponent (

One collection of photos from a 1970 Varsity game is entitled “Hockey finals” and shows, presumably, the Ontario University Championship for men’s hockey. It’s not clear to me who UofT is playing, but perhaps the University of Western Ontario given the large “W” on the team’s chest? The photos include lots of actions shots, a crowd shot, and the championship trophy being awarded to the UofT Varsity Blues:

Another collection features hockey games, presumably from intramural competition, from different eras being played at Erindale College at UofT’s Mississauga campus. UofT Mississauga was created in 1967 and currently has an enrollment of approximately 17,500 students. One of the most interesting photos is of a women’s hockey game, featuring players decked out in extremely unsafe and ragtag looking equipment but seemingly enjoying the game (it is the second photo in this sequence). Clearly UofT’s Mississauga campus has been a hotbed of recreational hockey for a number of years:

Finally, there are lots of fascinating shots that document various aspects of UofT’s men’s hockey development over the decades:

1905: This report on the men’s hockey club does not paint a rosy picture of the team’s fortunes. Interesting to note the goal of developing “an invincible septette” – hockey was played 7-aside at this time. (

1915: The UofT junior team captured the Ontario Hockey Association’s championship (

1920: The squad that captured UofT’s first of two Allan Cups, awarded since 1909 to the top amateur team in Canada (

1949: Varsity players pose for camera during a practice (

1979: Hockey players cross Front Campus in front of UofT’s Medical Science Building (

2010: Students at UofT’s Scarborough campus compete in floor hockey (


3 thoughts on “Hockey at the University of Toronto: How the sport has been woven into the cultural fabric of a university for over a century

  1. Pingback: IIHF’s “Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend”: A Chance to Reflect on Barriers and Opportunities for Women in Hockey Culture | Hockey in Society

  2. Pingback: #Canada150: 150 Good, Bad, and Ugly Stories of Hockey in Canada (Part 2) | Hockey in Society

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