I first ranked the Reach for the Top championship-winning clubs in 2015. I summarized the list here. They were split into CBC and modern eras, because there is significant differences in how clubs approached and prepared for the competition. I will be revisiting the rankings this summer.
I’ll emphasize that the lists are about championship-winning clubs. A school at least needs one title for a rank, regardless of how many consecutive final appearances they have. Clubs are ranked instead of individual teams: I try to take in a school’s whole body of work, rather than determine whether the 1973 team was better than the 2003 team. Because they earned a title in each era, Cobequid Educational Centre appears twice.
Part 1 is the CBC era list. Very little has changed, because the era is over and I don’t get much new information. Without further ado:
- Lorne Jenken (AB)
- Gonzaga (NL)
- Vincent Massey (Etobicoke, ON) [up 1]
- Oak Bay (BC) [up 1]
- O’Leary (AB) [down 2]
- Hillcrest (ON) [up 1]
- Glenlawn (MB) [down 1]
- Cobequid (NS)
- Roland Michener (ON)
- Kelvin (MB)
- Dakota (MB)
- Banting Memorial (ON)
- Central Peel (ON)
- Queen Elizabeth (NS)
- Deloraine (MB)
- Neil McNeil (ON)
- River East (MB)
- Kate Andrews (AB)
- Rideau (ON)
There are only minor changes. Here’s my rationale:
O’Leary has dropped. They have 2 known final appearances: the 1972 win and the 1974 loss. The 1972 win was the largest ever paradigm shift in the CBC era, and one of the most important ever. O’Leary is credited with the idea of practicing all year to lead up to a tournament. Unfortunately, they were quickly outclassed by their provincial rival Lorne Jenken at their own game. I think my earlier impressions placed too much emphasis on their innovation without considering the hard reality of not many results. Interestingly, their drop benefits Oak Bay, who pretty much solely represented British Columbia in all the years before 1972 and didn’t make use of a practice model.
Hillcrest is up slightly. I’ve had the opportunity to see more Ontario provincial games from the 1970s/80s. Hillcrest is more frequently there, but they lose out by not being the top (southern) Ontario team of a particular year. Their 2 final appearances is better than Glenlawn. Glenlawn had more national tournament appearances, but not the high finishes. I think I gave Glenlawn too much credit as the “highest-scoring final winner”; that title has since been lost to the discovery of Frontenac’s 600-410 victory.
For curiosity’s sake, I would place Dryden (the three-peat silver medallists of the 1970s) in the 7-9 range. I would consider them better than fellow northern Ontarians Roland Michener, who got their multiple national appearances in the relatively easier 1980s.
The upcoming modern era rankings, which I will split into three parts, will see a bit more change. Some of that is due to results since 2015, while other changes come from discoveries from the 1990s. These rankings will show up later in the summer.