When you think about the most dominant teams in hockey you’re probably recalling the mid 70’s Canadiens teams or Islanders teams from the early 80’s or maybe even the Chicago Blackhawks of the past decade. All respectable answers, but there is one team that stands above all of the rest as the most dominant team ever to play the game of hockey. That team is the 1924 Toronto Granites.
The Toronto Granites were the first organized ice hockey team in Toronto, forming in 1880. An offshoot of the Toronto Granite Curling Club that still exists today, the Granites would face off in exhibition games against other hockey teams that stemmed from curling clubs, as well as other amateur teams. In 1924 after winning The Allan Cup, a national senior championship, the Granites were chosen to represent Canada in Chamonix, France at the first Olympic Winter Games.
The team was composed of only nine players. There were four forwards: Bert McCaffrey, Cyril “Sig” Slater, Reginald “Hooley” Smith, Harold McMunn, and Harry Watson, as well as two defensemen: Beattie Ramsay and Dunc Munro, and two goalies: Jack Cameron and Ernie Collett. These players would go up against Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, absolutely dominating every team they faced en route to a gold medal.
In the first game of the tournament The Granites absolutely decimated Czechoslovakia 30-0, and they continued to crush the opposition, beating Sweden 22-0 and Switzerland 33-0 to move onto the final four of the tournament alongside Great Britain, the United States, and Sweden. In the final four The Granites defeated Great Britain 19-2 to advance to the finals where they defeated the United States 6-1 to claim the first Gold Medal in ice hockey at the Olympic Winter Games.
Through the five games that they played, the Granites scored 110 goals and allowed only three goals against. All three goals scored on them came from Canadian born players Herb Drury and Colin Carruthers. Four of the Granites scored over ten goals, but the definite tournament MVP was Harry Watson who scored 37 goals and 50 points. Watson registered a hat trick in every game of the tournament including quadruple hat tricks against Czechoslovakia in the opening game and against Switzerland in the team’s third game.
Although they were overshadowed by the performance of Team Canada, the United States performed extremely well, shutting out every single team they played against on the way to the finals where they allowed their first and only goals against.
The odd thing about this tournament is that many of the players served as referees in games that their teams weren’t playing in. Dunc Munro officiated a game between Belgium and the United States and Beattie Ramsay reffed two games himself.
Canadian teams would defend their gold medal at the next two Olympic Winter Games but hockey would never see a team as dominant as the 1924 Granites.
Chris Carnovale is an “Old Time Hockey” and “The Wraparound” columnist for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @Chris_Carnovale.