Two-time Ontario Provinicial Champions
Amateur hockey in the era just before the First World War was much different than the game we know today. Body checking wasn’t allowed, and there were no substitutions permitted. Teams played with seven players –the six positions we are familiar with today, plus a rover – for two 30-minute halves.
During this era, Preston’s Intermediate hockey club (1911-12) was one of the classiest teams in the province from any division. Over two seasons the team lost only one game and captured the provincial Intermediate title both years.
Indeed, the Preston Intermediates often played, and beat, the Senior teams in exhibition contests.
A year before they won their first Ontario championship, one of their players was hurt and unable to continue in the game. Although they
were up four goals at the time of the injury, they were forced to play shorthanded, eventually losing to Kingston after the Kingston squad scored five unanswered goals to capture the Ontario title by a single goal.
Undterred, Preston, boasting one of the top amateur defensemen in Ontario in Irvin “Buck” Bowman, moved up to the Intermediate division the next year and proved virtually unbeatable.
Bowman had the opportunity to turn professional, but decided against it.
“Joe Malone from the Quebec Bulldogs came down to see some of is play,” recalled Bowman on his 90th birthday. “He wanted to take me right back to Quebec.”
But the timing wasn’t right for him. “I was married and had two children,” Bowman said. “My daughter was sickly and my wife not too well either, so I stayed at home.”
Besides, the pay wasn’t much to write home about, although for the time, the $1,000 thye offered him wasn’t bad.
Bowman, like many of his teammates, played a number of sports in his youth.
“Everything they played in town, I played,” he said.