The Carr-Harris Cup: Hockey’s Oldest Rivalry

By Jordan Whitehouse

While Canadians can’t seem to agree on where and when hockey was invented, we can agree that Kingston is the undisputed home of the game’s oldest rivalry: the annual showdown between the Queen’s University Gaels and the Royal Military College Paladins.

The 31st Carr-Harris Cup game is set for February 2, 2017, at 7:30 pm at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. (Flickr/Queen’s University)
The 31st Carr-Harris Cup game is set for February 2, 2017, at 7:30 pm at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. (Flickr/Queen’s University)

Dating back to 1886, the rivalry was officially set in ice in 1986 by the International Hockey Hall of Fame and its naming of an annual game called the Carr-Harris Cup. This year, the game between the cross-town rivals will play out on Thursday, February 2nd at 7:30 pm at the Rogers K-Rock Arena.
On the line will be the Carr-Harris Cup itself, two points in the Ontario University Athletics East Division standings, and bragging rights for the next year.

The First Game

During the 1886 game, sticks were only a metre long and the “puck” was a whittled-down lacrosse ball. (Flickr/Queen’s University)
During the 1886 game, sticks were only a metre long and the “puck” was a whittled-down lacrosse ball. (Flickr/Queen’s University)

In the 1880s, Royal Military College (RMC) cadets and garrison soldiers would often spend their free winter afternoons playing shinny on Kingston’s frozen harbour. Seeing them out there day after day, a group of Queen’s College (now Queen’s University) students challenged them to a formal game on March 10, 1886.
Played in the shadow of the Martello tower that’s now in what’s known as Confederation Park, the first game between Queen’s and RMC didn’t feature much scoring. Queen’s won 1 – 0, the lone goal scored by fourth-year student Lennox Irving after he deked out his opponents by skating around a band shell that was placed at the centre of the rink.
RMC exacted revenge the next year, however, winning 4 – 1.

The Trophy

The Carr-Harris Cup trophy, known as “Lennie,” is named after the first game’s lone scorer. (Flickr/Queen’s University)
The Carr-Harris Cup trophy, known as “Lennie,” is named after the first game’s lone scorer. (Flickr/Queen’s University)

The winner of the annual game is awarded the Carr-Harris Cup trophy, which features a bust of the 1886 game’s lone scorer, Lennox “Lennie” Irving. After leaving Queen’s, Irving went on to a distinguished military and legal career in the Ottawa Valley.
The trophy is named in honour of the Carr-Harris family, which has a long-standing connection with Queen’s and RMC. Each year, the Mary Carr-Harris Most Valuable Player Award is also given out. Awarded to the top player from each team, it’s named in memory of Carr-Harris family matriarch Mary Carr-Harris, who, until her death in 2006, presented “Lennie” to each year’s winning team.

By the Numbers

Since 1986, Queen’s has hoisted the Carr-Harris Cup 10 more times than RMC. (Flickr/Queen’s University)
Since 1986, Queen’s has hoisted the Carr-Harris Cup 10 more times than RMC. (Flickr/Queen’s University)

Queen’s holds the winning record since 1986, and has held “Lennie” high for the past two years in a row, but the Paladins are no slouches. If history is any indication, the Gaels better watch out if the game goes to a shootout.

  • Queen’s Record: 19-9-2
  • RMC Record: 9-19-2
  • One-goal Games: 9
  • Two-goal Games: 3
  • Ties: 2
  • Overtime games: 4
  • Shootouts: 2 (RMC 2-0)
  • Shutouts: 3 (Queen’s 3-0)
  • Queen’s goals for: 130
  • RMC goals for: 82
Series History

Queen’s may have hoisted the Carr-Harris Cup the past two years in a row, but they shouldn’t rest on their laurels — RMC is hungry for a win. (Flickr/Queen’s University)
Queen’s may have hoisted the Carr-Harris Cup the past two years in a row, but they shouldn’t rest on their laurels — RMC is hungry for a win. (Flickr/Queen’s University)

Here’s the full breakdown of the series since 1986, including when and where each game was played and the scores:

  • 10/22/1986* RMC 8 Queen’s 3 — Constantine Arena
  • 10/14/1987* Queen’s 7 RMC 7 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 10/12/1988 RMC 3 Queen’s 6 — Memorial Centre
  • 01/31/1990 Queen’s 11 RMC 4 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/16/1991 RMC 3 Queen’s 4 — Constantine Arena
  • 02/07/1992 Queen’s 7 RMC 2 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 02/03/1993 RMC 0 Queen’s 9 — Constantine Arena
  • 11/20/1993 Queen’s 2 RMC 5 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 10/28/1994 RMC 3 Queen’s 3 — Constantine Arena
  • 01/10/1996 Queen’s 1 RMC 2 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/15/1997 RMC 6 Queen’s 5 (Shootout) — Constantine Arena
  • 02/11/1998 Queen’s 4 RMC 0 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/13/1999 RMC 4 Queen’s 3 — Constantine Arena
  • 01/12/2000 Queen’s 5 RMC 2 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 02/14/2001 RMC 4 Queen’s 2 — Constantine Arena
  • 01/16/2002 Queen’s 6 RMC 3 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/25/2003 RMC 1 Queen’s 3 — Constantine Arena
  • 01/31/2004 Queen’s 4 RMC 3 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/22/2005 RMC 4 Queen’s 3 — Constantine Arena
  • 01/07/2006 Queen’s 4 RMC 3 — Jock Harty Arena
  • 01/10/2007 RMC 3 Queen’s 2 (Shootout) — Constantine Arena
  • 02/07/2008 RMC 2 Queen’s 4 — Constantine Arena
  • 02/07/2009 Queen’s 1 RMC 0 — Memorial Centre
  • 02/04/2010 Queen’s 3 RMC 0 — Memorial Centre
  • 02/05/2011 RMC 2 Queen’s 5 — Constantine Arena
  • 02/02/2012 Queen’s 4 RMC 1 — K-Rock Centre
  • 01/31/2013 RMC 2 Queen’s 7 — K-Rock Centre
  • 02/06/2014 RMC 2 Queen’s 1 — K-Rock Centre
  • 02/05/2015 Queen’s 5, RMC 1 — K-Rock Centre
  • 02/04/2016 RMC 2, Queen’s 6 — K-Rock Centre

* played as exhibition games

The 31st Carr-Harris Cup

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 7:30 pm
Rogers K-Rock Centre
$10
Tickets available at Rogers K-Rock Centre box office or the Queen’s Athletic and Recreation Centre