The Commercial Graduates Basketball Club was the formal name of the team, coached by Percy PAGE
, based at McDougall Commercial High School in Edmonton. Beginning as a high-school team, the Grads ruled women's BASKETBALL
from 1915 to 1940, winning 93% of their games and 49 out of a possible 51 domestic titles. They did not lose a series in the Underwood International Championships, winning 23 times. After losing the first North American Championship series (1933), the Grads came back to win the next 3 (1934, 1935, 1936). In 1924 they played 6 games in conjunction with the Women's Olympics and also in Paris at the invitation of Fédération Sportive Feminine Internationale, who declared the Grads world champions. In 1928 they won the French and European championships and they played 9 games in conjunction with the Berlin Olympics (1936). In their 3 European tours the Grads won all 24 games they played. At the time of their retirement, the Grads held 108 titles at local, provincial, western, national, international and world levels.
During the Grads' 25-year career, there were only 38 players listed in the official game reports. Allowing for an original core of 5 players, the average turnover was fewer than 2 players a year. All but 2 of these came from the school at which Page taught. The Grads' competitive success was accompanied by the respect they earned in Canada and abroad. Edmontonians regarded them proudly as representatives of the city, while eastern sportswriters hailed them as a national institution. Perhaps the finest compliment came from the inventor of basketball, Dr James NAISMITH, who called them "the finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor."
First winners of the Underwood International Trophy, 1923 (courtesy PAC/A11413).
Links to Other Sites
Women in Canadian Sport
This series of biographies of outstanding Canadian women athletes is part of the Celebrating Women’s Achievements series from Library and Archives Canada. Also includes teaching guides and references.
The reigning queens of basketball
Watch a CBC TV News story about the world champion women's basketball team, the Edmonton Grads (Edmonton Commercial Graduates).