Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Percival Molson was a leader and a visionary who stuck steadfastly to his own principles even if this meant going against the common trend, which can be seen in almost every aspect of his sporting and military career. Molson was such an outstanding all-round athlete that he reached the highest levels across a number of different sports including hockey, track and field and football. In hockey he was a member of the 1897 Stanley Cup winning team, the Montreal Victorias. In football he played for the Montreal Whinged Wheelers and was known for his sure hands and excellent kicking skills. In track and field he was so talented he made the 1904 Olympic team, competing in the 400m.

But more than just displaying sporting excellence across different sports, Molson competed with his own brand of honesty and fair play because it was these characteristics that mattered more to Molson, more than just winning. In one tense hockey game between McGill and Queen's University, to the astonishment of his team-mates, Molson explained to the referee that the goal he had just scored was illegal and the referee disallowed the goal. Molson was also a visionary, for it was he who initiated a committee for McGill University to raise funds for the building of a new football stadium.

But this vision and leadership accompanied Molson in the military as well. For Molson was one of the leaders helping form two units from the University of McGill for Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Molson believed that the units would benefit from the students' shared cultural identities. Not only that, but in the Battle of Mount Sorrel in 1916, large numbers of Canadian soldiers had died, but Molson successfully led a 'desperate' resistance to repel the German army, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. Sadly, Molson was killed a year later in 1917 by an exploding howitzer shell when discussing strategy with another officer in the comparative safety of a village square behind the front line near Vimy Ridge. With such vision and leadership, the University of McGill later named their football stadium in Molson's honour.

rolled sleeping bag of Percy Molson from World War One
Percy Molson's standard trench kit included a revolver, map case and maps, compass, pliers and personal gear. In a letter written to his nephew he describes his situation: "I am in a dugout in the trenches quite close to the Germans, and although the shell and rifle fire is continuous, I am just as safe as you are ... It is not quite so safe when we go out."
Collection: Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum & Archives

Photograph of Percy Molson
Percy Molson was an all-round athlete, participating in football, hockey, track & field, golf, cricket, racquet sports, aquatic sports and billiards. He was named McGill Universities best 'all-round' athlete for three successive years. He was acclaimed for his sense of fair play and was never penalized in any sport.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

military medal bar with Military Cross of Percy Molson
Percy Molson was well-respected as an officer by all his men. In a letter to his family upon his death, his comrade described him as "truly without fear and without reproach. I have never known him to say to do anything which would not have satisfied the highest standards of thought and conduct."
Collection: Army Museum of Alberta

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