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Athletic history resurfaces as century-old tropy unearthed

by Paul Mayne

Elizabeth Grasby had no idea why a worn and faded, twofoot tall Sterling silver trophy was still kicking around her office after almost 25 years. But she couldn’t find it in herself to toss it.

“I’m not one to discard old files and records, which is probably why I didn’t discard the trophy,” said the Director of the Ivey Business School’s Pre-Business Program. “If I know what something is, it’s easier to throw it out. I didn’t know what it was, and therefore, didn’t throw it out. I looked at it and I thought, I better hang on to it.”

While no one really knew who the cup belonged to, or why it was even there, it continued to tag along each time Grasby’s area relocated – which, since 1993, has included two moves within the old Ivey Building, over to Somerville House, down to the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building and, finally, about three years ago, a return trip to Somerville House.

With space and storage at a premium, Grasby knew the trophy couldn’t hang around much longer and, still unwilling to toss it away, contacted the one person she felt would know if the wobbling trophy was a boon or a bust – Kinesiology professor emeritus Bob Barney.

“I knew right away the importance and the historical significance of it,” Barney said.

At 100 years old, it is the oldest athletic trophy in Western’s sport history, and perhaps the oldest athletic artifact of any kind in existence at the university. The inscription on the trophy reads: W.U.A.A. Inter-Faculty Hockey, Presented By The Board of Governors, 1916.

In February 1914, the first meeting of an amalgamation of the Arts and Meds Athletic Associations was held, and the Western University Athletic Association (WUAA) was born to promote, finance and control athletics and sport carried on under the head of the university. In 1916, the Board authorized and implemented an annual ice hockey championship cup. The record of ‘Inter-Faculty Championship’ competition in hockey begins in 1919-20.

The trophy was still making the rounds up until 1993-94, when the business school won the championship, and “those business guys kept it for themselves,” he joked.

The trophy will be passed along to director of Sports and Recreation, Therese Quigley, who, after a little refurbishing, plans to display the newly found historic piece in the trophy case of Thompson Arena.

This article appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Alumni Gazette
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