June 2, 2020

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Winnipeg Falcons subject of first-ever extended Heritage Minute

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/11/2014 (2033 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was a good night for hockey in Winnipeg.

As the Jets battled it out in an impressive (though failed) effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins, spectators were reminded of another Winnipeg hockey team that the city can be proud of: the Winnipeg Falcons, the first best hockey team in the world.

During intermission, fans were treated to the debut of a new Heritage Minute telling the story of the Falcons, a team of mostly Icelandic-Manitobans who won the first Olympic hockey gold medal in history at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920.

"In many ways, it’s the ultimate Canadian story," said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president of Historica Canada that creates the videos. "You’ve got hockey and heroism mixed together."

The video is only 60 seconds long, but it captures a little-known story that Wilson-Smith said he thinks more Canadians should hear. The Falcons players fought to the top, facing discrimination because of their Icelandic heritage and staying together even through the First World War. Although seven of the eight players were overseas by 1917, they returned in 1919 and put the team back together.

The video, which stars Jared Keeso (19-2) and featuers the voice of George Stroumboulopoulos, received "tremendous cooperation" from the Winnipeg business community, said Wilson-Smith. That financial support made another first possible: Historica Canada has created its first-ever extended edition of a Heritage Minute, a one minute, 45 second version that includes extra scenes. Wilson-Smith said he anticipates that version will debut at the end of next week.

"It’s a story waiting to be told," said Wilson-Smith. "We try to do these things well, but in the end we stand or fall on the strength of the story."

The 1920 Winnipeg Falcons --  winners of the first ice hockey Olympic gold medal.

The 1920 Winnipeg Falcons -- winners of the first ice hockey Olympic gold medal.

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