There was a palpable energy in the air last week as most of Winnipeg sat down to watch game 7 of the series between the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets. Our collective excitement to see our team win and move on to the semi finals to play the Las Vegas Golden Knights is not surprising. This is the farthest the Winnipeg Jets have ever made it in the Stanley Cup playoffs since they joined the NHL in 1976.

However, a lesser known fact about our hockey history is that before we became the Winnipeg Jets our city’s then team, the Winnipeg Victorias, won the Stanley Cup three times – in 1896, 1901, and 1902. 

We are proud to say that it was prominent Exchange District businessman Donald Bain who led the team to these early Stanley Cup wins, as star centre of the Winnipeg Victorias. Bain scored the final goal in a 2-0 victory against the Montreal Shamrocks to win our city’s first Stanley Cup in 1896, making Winnipeg the first team outside of Montreal to win the championship cup. After this first win Winnipeg started a few Stanley cup traditions that would continue to this day. Ours was the first team to hold a Stanley Cup parade in our city and the first team to begin drinking champagne from the cup!

By 1901 Bain had become the team’s captain. That year in a tense game against those same Montreal Shamrocks, he would again be the one to score the clinching goal in overtime. He then went on to help our team win the cup yet again in 1902. This time, he played the game with a broken nose requiring him to wear a wooden face mask and earning him the nickname the ‘masked man.’

Bain’s history here in the Exchange started as a teenager when he worked as a bookkeeper for David Nicholson’s wholesaler grocery firm. Nicholson’s main warehouse space was located at 115 Bannatyne, in a shared warehouse space called The Brokerage. Bain worked his way up to junior partner, and then in 1905 his name was added to the business, creating Nicholson and Bain. Between the two men, business prospered, and they created offices across western Canada. In 1917, Nicholson and Bain ended their partnership due to a personal conflict (the nature of which is unknown), and Bain renamed the firm for himself: Donald H. Bain Limited.

The beautiful warehouse space at 115 Bannatyne still stands today as part of the 30-blocks of heritage buildings that make up this remarkable area.

As the Jets take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the semi finals the Exchange District is a perfect place to grab a bite to eat before heading to the game or White Out party. We have over 50 unique local restaurants to choose from. You can even stay and watch the game on the big screen at local favourite the King’s Head Pub or new hotspot the Amsterdam Tea Room!

Go Jets Go!