From 1900 to 1913, four different Maritime hockey clubs played for the Stanley Cup. Back then, it was a challenge cup. Any league champion could vie for its glory, as long as its trustees deemed them worthy contenders. “Between 1893 and 1926, sixteen different leagues produced Stanley Cup champions, and fifty-seven teams challenged for it,” Adams writes. The most controversial debate of the day was professionalism, with paid players referred to as “ringers.” Our region ultimately embraced that trend, and it made competition with richer provinces unfeasible. In Long Shots
, Adams digs through the archives to give a crisply written, engaging account of the four Maritime challengers and their stars, goons and goalies. We get a full flavour of the era—including its extreme segregation by race and its obliviousness to the talented women-only leagues—as well as the personal and professional stories (many had off-ice jobs) of the men on blades.