44th Ed Meagher Sports Tournament January 22-26, 2003

History of the Tournament

In 1971, Ed Meagher and Jim Ruddy, the coaches of Loyola’s Senior Hockey Team, were inspired to host a hockey tournament that would showcase the talents and spirit of high-school student-athletes. They felt that there was something special that happened when a high school student put on his team jersey and proudly represented his high school in front of his peers, teachers and family.

The inaugural “Invitational Winter Sports Tournament”, which featured four Senior hockey teams, was not very successful. As a result of a massive snowstorm that weekend, one of the teams could not make it, and the four-team tournament turned out to be even smaller. On the ice, Michael Power High School, the Ontario Provincial Champions, defeated Loyola 4-3 in overtime in the gold-medal game. Off the ice, the money-losing tournament was a financial strain on Loyola, but Fr. Ken Casey S.J., the school principal at the time, was determined not to let a great idea die and kept the tournament flame alive with his foresight and financial generosity.

The tournament has come a long way since 1971. Over the years, it has grown into one of the highlights of the Montreal winter sports-scene. In 1974, Senior basketball, today called Juvenile basketball, was added to the tournament, followed by Bantam hockey in 1981 and Midget basketball in 1982. The tournament remained a four-division, hockey/basketball tournament for the next thirteen years, when the sport of wrestling was added in 1995. Subsequent growth has included Bantam basketball in 1998, Pee-Wee hockey in 2003 and Pee-Wee basketball in 2006.

In 1975, Ed Meagher decided that the only way in which the tournament could and would succeed, would be if Loyola parents became involved in it. That year, a “Tournament Committee” was struck, consisting of parents, former parents, alumni and Loyola staff members. The tournament is now a school-wide event, and the weekend that Ed Meagher looked forward to most, is enjoyed annually by hundreds of students, athletes and volunteers. In 1996, the tournament was renamed the “Ed Meagher Sports Tournament”.

Incredibly, it took a Loyola Senior/Juvenile hockey team twenty-six years to win its own tournament, only two and a half months after Ed Meagher had passed away. Loyola defeated St. Thomas 4-3 in overtime, and the drought that began with an overtime loss 26 years earlier, was over. Those in attendance that Saturday night in January of 1996, could feel the spirit of Ed Meagher at that tournament, as Loyola teams went on to capture Gold medals in three of the four basketball and hockey finals. When the Juvenile hockey team paraded around the ice with the championship trophy adorned with Ed’s Notre Dame ball-cap, the players and fans in attendance knew that Ed was still there with them in the rink that night - a rink that for so many years was his home away from home.

It was only fitting that on January 28, 2000, Concordia University renamed its rink the “Ed Meagher Arena”.