Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Jan. 20


Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




(Updated 12:30 p.m., March 24)
Second annual Bradley Cup set to go this weekend in Navan

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

J.T. Bradley Country Convenience Store owner John Bradley holds up the Bradley Cup that will be contested at the Navan Arena on Good Friday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Six east end hockey teams will be lacing up their skates this Saturday to compete for a trophy that dates back to the mid-1920s and raise a few dollars for a good cause.

The Bradley Cup was established in 1926 by John Thomas Bradley and put up as a challenge thrown out by the Navan Hockey Club to a rival club in Vars.

Navan’s star player at the time was Wally Kilrea who would go on to play nine seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia Quakers, New York Americans, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Maroons and Detroit Red Wings.

Another member of that team was Nelson Kennedy who passed away in 2010 at the age of 101.

Before he died, Kennedy conducted an interview with OrleansOnline.ca during which he spoke about his recollections of that very first challenge cup which was a two game, home-and-home series.

Both teams put up $100 before the series started, winner take all. The first game was played on an outdoor rink on Trim Road across from where The New Oak Tree furniture store now stands.

In the 1920s, most teams still played with seven members a side, including a rover and there were no substitutes. If a player got injured, the team simply played a man short.

The first game in the 1926 Bradley Cup challenge ended in a 0-0 tie. When neither team was able to score in regulation during the second game in Vars, they game went into overtime.

“I scored the winning goal in double overtime,” Kennedy recalled during the interview. “The game took 90 minutes to play. Everyone was dog tired."

Eric Smith poses with Ross Bradley and the Bradley Cup which he won as a member of the Navan team in 1948. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The players ended up splitting the $100 seven ways.

“It was good money back then. I don’t remember what I did with my share,” said Kennedy.

The Bradley Cup was offered up twice more before the start of WWII. In 1929 it was won by a team from Cumberland Village. It was recaptured by Navan four years later and sat in the J.T. Bradley and Sons store until 1948 when it was dusted off for a rematch between Navan and Cumberland.

The top line on the Navan team was made up of Eric Smith, Harold Poaps and Shawn Nelson. The second line featured brothers Basil, Bill and Ken McFadden. The third line included Lorne Bradley and Syd Smith, while Mervin Dagg and Lloyd Morrison played on defence. The coach was Eldon Kinsella.

Denis Huneault had to play in net for Navan while their regular goaltender Garret Rivington recovered from Rheumatic fever.

Eric Smith ended up on the team entirely by accident. After returning home from the war, he enrolled at Queen’s University in September 1946. He was barely there a month when he decided to “pack it in” and return to Navan where he was immediately recruited to play on the hockey team.

Smith recalls the Navan team hardly lost any games at all before taking on Cumber-land for the Bradley Cup.

The first game was played on the old outdoor rink on Trim Road which would end up getting replaced by the town’s first indoor arena a year later.

According to Smith, a couple of hundred people came out to watch the game which Navan ended up winning 8-0 thanks to a five goal effort by Smith himself.

“They were some ticked off I tell ya. I know that, because it took us forever to play the second game in Cumberland,” says Smith.

The second game in the home-and-home series was eventually played in mid-March in the old Cumberland Arena. To give you an idea of the ice conditions, Smith was given a penalty for splashing an opposing player.

Hannah Billings

“It was terrible, there was water all over the place. One of their players was trying to get the puck and I thought, ‘If you’re going to get the puck then you’re going to get wet’,” says Smith.

Cumberland ended up winning the game 1-0, but Navan won the Cup based on the aggregate score of 8-1.

The last Bradley Cup was won by the French Hill Hockey Club in 1959. Since then it’s sat in J.T. Bradley’s Country Convenience Store as a reminder of days gone by... until now.

The Bradley Cup was dusted off and out up for competition last year to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the trophy and raise money for the Hannah Billings Fund.

Five senior men's teams representing the communities of Navan, Vars, Sarsfield, Cumberland Village, and Orléans played a round robin tournament with Cumberland coming out the winner.

The defending champs will be back again this year along with a sixth team from Hammond. Puck drop for the first game at the Navan Memorial Arena is at 9 a.m.

Spectators will be asked to pay a nominal admission fee that will go toward the Hannah Billing Fund. Hannah was a 10-year-old Navan reident who passed away from cancer in 2007.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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