Out of the Mists of the Past The Kenora Thistles: 1907 Stanley Cup Champions

  • Team History
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    Player Biographies:

  • Tommy Phillips
  • Si Griffis
  • Tom Hooper
  • Billy McGimsie
  • Roxy Beaudro
  • Eddie Giroux
  • Art Ross
  • Joe Hall
  • Alf Smith
  • Harry Westwick
  • Fred Whitcroft

  • Other Notables


  • League Standings
  • Individual Stats


  • The Rat Portage Thistles, c. 1897-99
  • The Rat Portage Thistles, 1900-01
  • The Rat Portage Thistles, 1902-03
  • The Rat Portage Thistles, 1903-04
  • The Kenora Thistles, 1904-05
  • The Kenora Thistles, 1905-06
  • The Stanley Cup Champs, 1907
  • The Town of Rat Portage, c.~1900
  • The Town of Rat Portage, c.~1900
  • The Port of Kenora, c.1915


  • Fred "Cyclone" Taylor: Almost A Thistle?

    Main Resource Links:

  • City of Kenora's Official Website
  • Lake of the Woods Museum
  • Puckerings.com
  • Legends of Hockey
  • Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of fame
  • More Resources

    and of course...

  • Dr. Ron Lappage

    Silas Seth Griffis was born in Onaga, Kansas on September 22, 1883. Si's father, Silas Israel Griffis, was originally from St. Catharines, Ontario. As a teenager the elder Griffis migrated to America to join the U.S. Army. He spent time in Chicago, Illinois before finally settling down in Kansas where he began a family that consisted of six girls and two boys.

    When Si was a toddler his father moved the family back to St. Catharines and then on to Rat Portage, where he earned his living by mine and real-estate speculation.

    Growing up in the rough and tumble Rat Portage area, Si was blessed with remarkable athletic stamina and skill as well as a sizeable build-- being well over six foot and close to 200 pounds-- and as a result took an interest in a variety of competitive sports, including baseball and rowing, but it was ice hockey that drew his youths' passion. Starting in the mid 1890s, he played "junior" hockey with other town youths and quickly made a name not only for himself, earning the appropriate nickname "Sox" because of his long legs, but for his team, named the Thistles, after the town's senior league team. His combination of blazing speed and ice smarts made him an early stand out.

    Si Griffis, age 13As a result of being renowned as the fastest skater in the Rat Portage area, Si began his career on the old rules seven position hockey team as a rover, a challenging position that allowed him to alternate between between defense and offense.

    In their early years, Si and the Thistles were remarkably competitive, and quickly began to dominate the senior league circut. The Thistles ended up challenging for the Stanley Cup in both 1903 and 1905. In the two-game, 1903 contest versus the Ottawa Silver Seven, the twenty-one year old Griffis played well, but did not tally a goal. The following season, Si scored 12 games in 12 regular season games, steering the Thistles to an 8-4 record, but it wasn't enough for the league title, won by the 9-3 Brandon Wheat Kings. In 1904-05, Griffis scored 15 goals in 8 regular season games, and added three goals in a three game Stanley Cup re-match versus Ottawa. Si dominated the ice, but his superior talents weren't enough to down the legendary Silver Seven, who came back from a 9-3 lashing to take the best of three series by winning the final two games by the scores of 4-2 and 5-4.

    Griffis wasn't only competitive in the sport of hockey. During the summer of 1905, at the Henley Regatta in St. Catherines, Ontario, Griffis, along with a crew made up of teammate Tommy Phillips and former Thistles goaltender Bob Rose placed second nationally in the Junior Four. For Griffis, rowing could've been a summer pasttime that kept him in shape for the coming hockey season.

    In May of 1905 Rat Portage changed its name to the more sonorous Kenora and Griffis switched positions to defense. It was playing in this position that Si helped the Thistles win the Stanley Cup in January of 1907. It is said that the town of Kenora offered Si a purse of gold and a house for his outstanding play, but Griffis politely turned down the gesture. Three months later, the Thistles lost the Cup in a rematch to the Montreal Wanderers, and rather than staying with his home club, who had already lost frontliners Billy McGimsie and Roxy Beaudro through retirement, Griffis, along with Phillips and Tom Hooper decided to test the professional hockey waters. A published rumor had Griffis along with Phillips signing on with the Canadian Soo of the International (Professional) Hockey League (I.H.L.) in the fall of 1907, but the deal fell through when it became apparent that the IHL would fold before the season even began. Following that setback Griffis retired from hockey and moved west to Vancouver.

    Reuniting with former teammate Tommy Phillips, Si played briefly for the Nelson, British Columbia hockey club in 1909-10, but it wasn't until In 1911, when Frank Patrick offered him a contract with the Vancouver Millionaires in the newly formed Pacific Coast Hockey Association, that he resumed full-time play. With a chance to again be reunited with old Kenora teammate Phillips, Griffis came out of retirement on January 5, 1912, playing the whole sixty minutes of the match and scoring three goals and adding two assists in an 8-3 drubbing of the New Westminster Royals.

    Later in the year tragedy struck when Si's father died, but Si persevered and went on to play five solid seasons for the Millionaires, the highlight of which was the Stanley Cup championship team in 1915, which he captained, and who pounded the eastern challenger Ottawa Senators in three straight games-- 6-2, 8-3, and 12-3. Si had the opportunity to play alongside such early hockey legends as Fred "Cyclone" Taylor, Mickey MacKay, and Frank Nighbor, although he suffered a broken leg in the last game of the regular season and did not play in the Championship. For the next two years, Griffis was plagued by the problematic and slow healing leg, and he effectively retired, playing only a handful of games during the next two years before hanging up his skates for good. In 117 regular season games Si had tallied 39 goals and added 5 in 18 playoff appearances.

    Due to his large, sturdy frame, Griffis continued to excel in sport after his retirement from hockey. He was a competitive golfer and bowler. He also later served as managing director for the Vancouver Sun newspaper. On July 9th, 1950, just two weeks after he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Si Griffis died in Vancouver.


    Last update: January 20, 2007
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