Sports

1909 Nelson hockey club postcard sells for $430

ABOVE: This postcard sold for $430 on eBay. Frank Patrick is the second player down on the left and his brother Lester is second down on the right. BELOW: The card
ABOVE: This postcard sold for $430 on eBay. Frank Patrick is the second player down on the left and his brother Lester is second down on the right. BELOW: The card's reverse side has a Willow Point postmark.
— image credit: eBay photo

A rare postcard of Nelson’s championship hockey club of 1908-09 with stars Lester and Frank Patrick has sold online for $430 US.

The card shows individual oval portraits of the team’s members, who also included Harry and Archie Bishop, Gilbert Bellrose, Joe Thompson, Les Steele, Tim Dunne, and Al Horswill, plus three trophies they claimed: the Daily News Cup, British Columbia Cup, and International Cup.

In addition to breezing to the provincial championship at the Rossland Winter Carnival, the team threatened to challenge for the Stanley Cup, but couldn’t secure dates from the cup’s trustees.

The photo was taken by B.S. McGregor, who had only recently moved to Nelson, and published by the Canada Drug and Book Co. The players all wear their team sweaters bearing the club crest: an N with wings.

The Patrick brothers were already hockey stars in the east when they came to Nelson in 1907-08 to work for their father at his Crescent Valley sawmill. The proceeds of the mill’s sale a few years later financed the start of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, which introduced many new rules to the game.

Much later, Lester and Frank coached the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins respectively.

Ruins of the sawmill are still visible and are within the parkland recently acquired by the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The Patrick house in Nelson still stands at 817 Edgewood Avenue.

The postcard’s seller was in Niagara Falls, NY. It bears a scarce Willow Point postmark, dated June 3, 1909, and was mailed to a Mrs. Thompson of Acton, Ontario. (Perhaps Joe Thompson’s mother?) The message reads: “Dear Mother, We hope you are well. We are at our cottage by the lake. It is lovely. We wish you would come and visit us. With love from all.”

The same card sold at auction in December 2003 for $680 US. Once the buyer’s premium was added, the final price came to $813.

Selkirk College and Touchstones Nelson each have a copy of the card. Touchstones and the Nelson Sports Museum also have large dry-mounted photos of the team which include the executives in addition to the players.

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