Regina Dales

The Regina Dales athletic club was formed in 1929, taking its name from the Dales Tea Room, whose owner, Mah Park, helped establish the club. The Dales provided an opportunity for young people living in one of the city’s poorer areas to participate in a wide range of sports. From the outset, however, the greatest emphasis was placed on rugby football. The Dales formed two teams, and at first they simply played each other. They lacked proper equipment and a prepared field, but they made rapid progress, and within a year were challenging local high school teams. In 1931 the Regina Juvenile Rugby League was formed, and the Dales completed an undefeated season. In the absence of any other leagues in the province they claimed the provincial juvenile crown and challenged the Winnipeg Young Men’s Hebrew Association for western Canadian honours, losing in the final in Winnipeg. In 1933 the Dales entered the junior ranks, and led by their quarterback Paul Dojack they defeated the Regina Pats to win the city junior championship. In 1934 they won the provincial junior crown. In 1937, with Paul Dojack as coach, they became junior champions of western Canada, and challenged for the national title, losing to Hamilton’s Italo-Canadians in the final (27–2), played in Hamilton. In 1938 they played the Montreal Westmounts in Montreal and won the national junior championship (4–3) in a game referred to as the “ice bowl.” By this time the Dales had become one of the dominant teams in Canadian junior rugby football. They owed their success to the strong organization that backed them, to the ambitious and able people who helped coach the team, and to their special relationship with Regina’s senior team, the Roughriders, whose roster during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s included dozens of former Dales. The Dales suspended operations during World War II, and attempts to revive the league that had been formed during the 1930s were unsuccessful. In 1954 the Dales joined together with the Regina Bombers to form the Regina Bomber-Dales, which the next season became the Regina Rams—the most successful junior football club in Canada.

Ken Leyton-Brown