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In Conversation with Kay MacBeth

Kay MacBeth (née MacRitchie) was the last player to join the Edmonton Grads, a women’s basketball team James Naismith, inventor of the game, considered “the finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor.” At 95 years old, MacBeth is also the last surviving Grad, a club that played from 1915 to 1940. In those 25 years, the Grads accumulated a record that is quite possibly beyond parallel. Over the course of some 400 official outings, the Grads lost only 20 games. The Grads were both national and world champions who often defeated their opponents by lopsided scores. MacBeth played for the Grads in 1939–40. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Jack “Doc” Gibson

John “Jack” Liddell MacDonald Gibson, athlete, administrator, dentist (born 10 September 1880 in Berlin [now Kitchener], ON; died 4 November 1954 in Calgary, AB). Jack “Doc” Gibson founded the world’s first professional hockey team (the Portage Lake Hockey Club in Houghton, Michigan) in 1903 and the first professional hockey league (the International Hockey League) in 1904. He has been called the “father of professional hockey” and the “father of hockey in Michigan.” He was an inaugural inductee into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.


Jackie Robinson and the Montreal Royals (1946)

On 15 April 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his debut game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play in the major leagues in the modern era. Prior to that point, professional baseball in the United States was segregated, with African Americans playing in the Negro leagues. When Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier in 1947, he entered American history books. What many baseball fans may not realize, however, is that Robinson was embraced by Canadian fans one year earlier as a member of the Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers.


Jacques Amyot

Jacques Amyot, COQ, marathon swimmer, athlete (born 13 November 1924 in Quebec City, QC; died 7 September 2018 in Quebec City). Jacques Amyot won eight national swim titles. He held 47 Quebec records and 16 Canadian records in open-water swimming (see also Marathon Swimming). He was the first person to swim across Lac Saint-Jean and the first Canadian man to swim across the English Channel. He was the inaugural recipient of the Quebec Athlete Gala’s Athlete of the Year award, as well as the Prix honorifique Jacques-Amyot for lifetime achievement, which was named in his honour.  He is a member of the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame   and the Quebec Swimming Hall of Fame (1998),  as well as a Chevalier in the Ordre national du Québec.  


Jacques Plante

Jacques Plante, hockey goaltender (b near Mont Carmel, Qué 17 Jan 1929; d at Geneva, Switz 26 Feb 1986). He began playing goal for a factory team in Shawinigan and played junior for Québec Citadels before turning professional with Montreal Royals at age 22.