#100DaysofVimy – March 6th, 2017

Each Monday, we will share a brief biography of a soldier of the First World War with a Vimy connection. Today we honour:

Captain James T. Sutherland

Captain James Thomas Sutherland of Kingston, Ontario, is perhaps best known as the “Father of Hockey”. Instrumental during the Ontario Hockey League’s formative years, Sutherland’s efforts would permeate through to all levels of play, earning him the title. What is probably less well-known is that Sutherland left hockey to serve with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

In the 1921-22 season, the Memorial Cup was won by the “Fort William War Veterans”.

While overseas, serving as a Captain in his battalion, and still as President of the Ontario Hockey Association, Sutherland proposed the creation of a trophy that would honour Canada’s fallen hockey players. Sutherland was influenced to create such a trophy following the deaths of two Kingston hockey greats who had enlisted – Alan Scotty Davidson (1915) & Capt. George T. Richardson (1916). Thus, the Ontario Hockey Association’s Memorial Cup was established in 1919, in memory of all hockey players who had made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.

Despite later becoming the “Father of Hockey”, Sutherland started out as a travelling shoe salesman, as indicated on his Attestation Papers upon enlistment in 1916  (see Line 5).
Credit: Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, Reference Number: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 9435 – 24, Item Number: 259416.