Although McGill students might not be like the fans you might see at college games in the United States, they still display a healthy loyalty to our Martlet and Redmen teams. This balance is at least partly why McGill boasts one of the best athletic departments in the country. Here is The McGill Tribune Sports Section’s Top 10 reasons to be proud of your McGill Athletics’ past and present.
- McGill has played a pioneering role in the development and codification of several major North American sports, notably basketball, which was the brainchild of McGill alumnus Dr. James Naismith. He created the game in 1891 to give his students a sport to keep them fit throughout the New England winters. Presently, both the Redmen and Martlets have won back-to-back RSEQ Championships.
- The first game of rugby played in North America was between McGill students and British Army Officers in 1868. Subsequently, McGill organized matches against Harvard, who embraced the game enough to make it a staple of the Ivy League. These days, the Redmen and Martlet rugby squads are defending RSEQ Champions.
- Three matches between McGill and Harvard in 1874 helped develop the rules of American Football. McGill played rugby whilst Harvard played the Boston Game. The games coalesced in a way to produce the basis of modern gridiron football.
- McGill students codified ice hockey and made up the majority of participants in the first organized hockey game in 1875. The McGill University Hockey Club is the oldest in the world, founded in 1877. In the past few years, both the Martlets and Redmen have won CIS National Championships.
- Cross country skiing was popularized in North America at McGill’s Gault Estate in Mount St. Hilaire.
- McGill has had an alumnus competing at every Olympic Games since 1908. There have been many gold medalists amongst McGill’s representatives. In fact, McGill had 18 alumni competing in the Sochi Olympics last year.
- McGill Martlet hockey has won four CIS national championships in the last seven years. Head Coach Peter Smith, also a McGill alumnus, boasts a record of 394-138-31 in his 13 seasons in charge at McGill. Three ex-Martlets represented the gold-medal-winning Canadian Olympic squad at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
- McGill’s Percival Molson Memorial Stadium seats 25,000 fans and is the home of the Montreal Alouettes.
- McGill medical student Laurent Duvernay-Tardif recently made the Kansas City Chiefs’ 53-man-roster for the 2014-2015 NFL season. He earned rave reviews from scouts and analysts who praised his high football IQ, toughness, and ability to play through the pain barrier.
- Amongst the less visible varsity sports, McGill can boast mind-boggling levels of success. For example, the synchronized swimming team won the Druble Trophy as the best program in the country for eight years in a row between 2004 and 2012.
This article is a part of our McGill 101 issue, which aims to ease your transition and answer questions you have about McGill and Montreal.