Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hilda Ranscombe

When discussing early women's hockey history it is impossible not to mention the Preston Rivulettes of the 1930s.

The Rivulettes were a baseball team that formed a hockey team during the winter months. Competing in a women's league with teams from Toronto, Kitchener, Stratford, London, Hamilton, Guelph and Port Dover, the team lost just two of 350 games in the 1930s, the most successful Canadian team in hockey history. The onset of World War II and subsequent gasoline rationing ended the team's dynasty. The Rivulettes won six championships in that time.

The star of the Rivulettes was Hilda Ranscombe. Described by some as the Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey, she was to dazzle with speed. Some say she was every bit as good as the boys from the area that went on to play in the NHL. She was the heart and soul of the Rivulettes, and, thought records were never kept, the scoring star.

Ranscombe devoted her life to hockey, becoming a coach after retiring as a player. Before her death she donated all of her equipment to the Hockey Hall of Fame.


n.getty said...

I had the honour of knowing Hilda in her last 5 years. We met when I went to thank her for opening the doors so that I could play hockey.(goalie 41 years) Her stories of years past playing hockey were always interesting and amusing and I miss our chats. Meeting her sister Nellie( the goalie) was also memorable. The last thing I said to Hilda before she passed was, When I skate, you skate with me." She smiled

Janice said...

I knew Hilda when I was a teenager. This was in the 60s. She sold real estate from the office my mother worked in. My mother mentioned that Hilda had played hockey but I had no idea how famous she was. She used to send me up to the German deli to buy myself a chocolate bar. Some years later I got to play hockey and realized what a legend she was.e

Unknown said...

Wow, it's a great story! I've always been fascinated by Hilda and the Rivulettes. They surely did us proud. And the above two comments are great to read, too, especially the line spoken to Hilda before she passed away--"When I skate, you skate with me." So good! I would have loved to have met her (and her sister) as well, and I now wonder if she was residing in Waterloo Region during her final days with us. Without a doubt, her legacy lives on in the vigorous endeavour of women's hockey we see all around us today, as our girls seek to rise to the amazingly high level of Hilda's play.

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