Today’s Google Doodle is celebrating the Edmonton Grads. The Grads were enlisted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame on this day in 2017. The Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Club, otherwise called “The Grads,” began as a secondary school girls basketball team and became a sports dynasty.
The Edmonton Grads were a Canadian women’s basketball team. While long disbanded, the team keeps on holding the North American record for the sports team with the best winning percentage ever. The Grads won the first women’s world title in basketball in 1924.
It was a fitting honor for a team that holds seemingly outstanding amongst other winning percentages in North America—roughly 95 percent more than 25 years—in any sport. With extraordinary sportsmanship and determination, The Grads additionally vanquished stereotypes that had discouraged women from taking an interest in competitive sports.
Teacher Percy Page began the team in 1914 as a physical education program for the 60 girls at McDougall Commercial High School in the Canadian city of Edmonton. In their first season, they won the provincial championship, and when some of the graduating seniors demonstrated that they’d like to keep playing, Page was inspired to set up The Grads after they graduated in 1915.
During the next 25 years, The Grads proceeded to win 23 of 24 Provincial Championships and racked up stats that would be the jealousy of any team, including acquiring series of wins of 147 and 78 games, isolated by only a single misfortune. They went undefeated in the Western Canadian Championships from 1926 to 1940 and won 29 of 31 games in the Canadian Championships, never losing a series. After the Grads won the Underwood International competition, otherwise called the “North American championship,” for 17 years straight, competition coordinators decided to give them a chance to keep the trophy for all time.
The Grads furthermore won seven of nine games against men’s teams and went unbeaten in 27 exhibition games at four Olympic Games—however, they never won a medal since women’s basketball was not yet an Olympic sport.
Right when The Grads initially started, basketball was a truly new sport, having been invented in 1891 by Canadian basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith. In May 1940, the Grads won their last Canadian championship before disbanding. He would later perceive the Grads as the “finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor.”
On January 20, 2018, the last surviving individual from the Grads, Kay MacBeth, died at 96 years old.