February 21, 2013

Dan Bain: Canada's Greatest Athlete?

Dan Bain was named Canada's Athlete of the last half of the 19th century.

He was Manitoba's roller-skating and cycling champion as well as a top gymnast and Canada's trapshooting title holder. Bain also won championships in pairs figure skating, lacrosse and of course hockey, where he captained the Winnipeg Victorias to three Stanley Cups.

Bain's Winnipeg team would challenge for the Stanley Cup three more times. As Dan Bain, Manitoba's Greatest Athlete, later recalled: "Those were the days of real athletes. When we passed, the puck never left the ice, and if the wingman wasn't there to receive it, it was because he had a broken leg."

That quote sums up Dan Bain pretty nicely.

The muscular and well-moustachioed Bain scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in 1896, as the Winnipeg Victorias downed the Montreal Victorias. It was a stunning victory at the time, as no team outside of Montreal had ever wont the Stanley Cup. The western victory helped spread the great game of hockey across the country.

Winnipeg would lose challenges later in 1896 and again in 1899, but Gain restored western glory when he scored another Stanley Cup winning goal, this time over the Montreal Shamrocks in 1901. That goal actually came in overtime - the first time the Stanley Cup was decided by an overtime winning goal!

He and the Vics would win another Stanley Cup the following year.

Bain was said to have been a very successful person off of the ice, as well. He operated a grocery brokerage firm and upon his death in 1962 his will had most his holdings donated to charities and employees.

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