Edmonton Grads

The Edmonton Grads were a Canadian women's basketball team. While long disbanded, the team continues to hold the North American record for the sports team with the best winning percentage of all time.


The 1914-15 senior girls basketball team of McDougall Commercial High School in Edmonton, Alberta won the Alberta High School Provincial championship. Upon graduation, the team asked their high school coach J. Percy Page (later the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta) if he would coach them if they continued to compete. Formally named "Commercial Graduates Basketball Club" the team soon became known informally as the "Edmonton Grads".


The team compiled a record of 502 wins and 20 losses between 1915 and 1940. The Grads won their first Canadian title in 1922 by defeating the Shamrocks from London, Ontario. The next year the Grads competed for the Underwood Trophy (provided by the Underwood Typewriter Company), their first international competition. The Grads faced the Cleveland Favorite-Knits, who were the reigning American (and world) champions. The Grads defeated the Favorite-Knits in a two game combined score match, 55 to 33. The Grads never relinquished either the Canadian Championship or the Underwood Trophy until the team disbanded in 1940.

In addition to dominating their sport in North America, the Grads also took on the best teams in Europe, ultimately defeating challengers in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Berlin. The Grads swept four consecutive Olympic Games from 1924 to 1936, winning all 27 Olympic matches they played and out scoring their opponents 1863 to 297. This achievement was unrecognized on the medal podium as women's basketball did not become an official Olympic sport until the 1976 summer games in Montreal.

Page's coaching philosophy emphasized the importance of physical conditioning and prohibited any performance-inhibiting activities such as smoking and drinking. As a result, his players often outlasted their exhausted opponents in particularly grueling matches. Page trained his girls to play as a unit and, above all, to take their sport seriously. "You must play basketball, think basketball and dream basketball," was his adage. Players were not allowed to marry. The reward for the unpaid players came through a chance to travel and see the world, a rare opportunity for single, unmarried women during the Depression. As a consequence the Grads were perennial provincial, national and continental champions.

The Grads disbanded in 1940 after the outbreak of the Second World War. At that time, the team held 108 local, provincial, national and international titles and had been the undisputed world champions for 17 years in a row. Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, called the Grads the "finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor."


In 1976 the Grads' successes were declared a "National Historic Event".

"Parks Canada" dedicated a plaque in their honour in 1978. [http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/lhn-nhs/det_E.asp?oqSID=0904&oqeName=Edmonton+Grads&oqfName=Edmonton+Grads]

"The Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame" inducted the entire team roster of players in 1980. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080728.OBROBERTSON28//TPStory/Obituaries]

Edmonton continues to this day to advertise itself as "The City of Champions", a legacy won for it by the Edmonton Grads.

ee also

*Sport teams by championships.

External links

* [http://www.histori.ca/minutes/lp.do?id=13113 Historica.ca reference page]
* [http://www.frozenhoops.com/ FrozenHoops.com] History of basketball in Canada

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