Connaught Series: young Radials upset Carsteel to claim national honours
Posted on 6 August 2017 in Around the Soccer World
A young Vancouver Radials team had their backs against the wall when they pulled off the improbable and captured the 1939 Dominion of Canada Football Championship. After eliminating Edmonton Civics and Winnipeg Irish in the playdowns, they faced a stern opponent from the east in Montréal Carsteel FC.
Montréal had three Castonguay brothers in their lineup, with famous Ronald joined by both Marcel and Paul-Émile (who led the 1939 playdowns with nine goals in nine matches). They also had an incredible unbeaten streak, one which was extended to 24 matches (all competitions) after the first two matches of the Dominion final (a draw and a win) against Vancouver.
Vancouver Sun called the Vancouver Radials “as plucky a group of youngsters as ever (to come) out of the west.” After a 2:0 win on Friday to even the series, they won the finale 3:1 on Saturday. In those last two matches, two-sport star and Connaught Series hero Hap Smith scored two goals and three assists for the champion Radials.
STORY OF THE 1939 CHAMPIONSHIP
Vancouver Radials were the fourth successive British Columbia team to capture the Dominion of Canada Football Championship, winning the best-of-three series in four matches. They were also the fourth different British Columbia winners in as many years. Through the 1939 playdowns, Vancouver eliminated Edmonton Civics and Winnipeg Irish before beating Montréal Carsteel FC in the Championship final.
Hap Smith may have been the hero with two goals and an assist in the final, but according to Radials manager Harold Till in the Vancouver Sun, “there was not a standout on the team. All the boys played grandly.”
In the Dominion final, a draw and Montréal win put Vancouver on the ropes, but they responded with back-to-back wins to capture the title.
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING GOAL • REG LIPTROT
Vancouver’s “diminutive” outside left Reg Liptrot scored the series-winning goal in the 1939 Championship final. Down 0-1 at half time, Hap Smith equalised in the 50th minute and then assisted on the Liptrot winner in the 55th minute.
TOP SCORER • PAUL-ÉMILE CASTONGUAY OF MONTRÉAL
Montréal’s 21-year old centre forward Paul-Émile Castonguay led the Championship with nine goals in nine matches, including four goals in the final series. Vancouver’s Hap Smith finished second with six goals.
CHALLENGE TROPHY • CAPTAIN TOMMY McKIBBIN
John Easton, past president of the Dominion of Canada Football Association, presented the Championship to Vancouver captain Tommy McKibbin. Back home, the Vancouver players were celebrated from the moment they got off the train.
Despite the late hour, British Columbia Electric, the company that backed the Radials, were there in full force to sing their praise with “bagpipes, a trumpet band, and confetti.” Joining the welcome party was Vancouver Mayor James Lyle Telford.
In celebration of our nation's 150th anniversary, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame pays tribute to the early years of our Championship: the Connaught Series from 1913 to 1939. Every Sunday from May through September, Canada Soccer remembers the players, legends, teams, and champions from a golden era of football in the Dominion.
In Canada's 150th year, Canada Soccer will crown their 150th national champions across all adult and professional competitions since 1913. The 2017 competitive season will crown the Futsal Canadian Championship winners in April, the professional Canadian Championship winners in June, and the amateur National Championships women's Jubilee Trophy and men's Challenge Trophy winners in October.