The Crescent Club Has a Long History of Sponsoring Sports in Owen Sound 

The Crescent Club has a long history of sponsoring sports teams and leagues in Owen Sound providing consistent management and financial assistance to athletics.


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The Great Lakes Raconteur

During the first part of the 1900s, sporting activities were a central feature of life in Owen Sound. 

Unfortunately, there was little continuity in team ownership and support for local athletes. Sponsors and ownership groups seemed to change with the season. 

Frustrated athletes were often kept wondering if they would have a team, or even a league, in which they could compete. Some of the sponsors were truly committed, while others often lost interest or business circumstances making it impossible for them to continue spending time and money on sporting endeavours. 

In December 1920 a meeting was held in Owen Sound which would have ramifications for sports in the community and surrounding area for many decades. The meeting brought together two groups who had supported hockey, basketball, and baseball in Owen Sound beginning in the years leading up to the First World War. 

The first group, the M.D.S. club, was comprised of 14 young men who played most sports. The other organization was called the Midnight Crew. They were not all athletes, but their love of sports led them to support area athletes and teams. This enthusiasm led to the formation of the Crescent Club. 

At the 1920 meeting the two groups originally amalgamated under the name Scenery City Athletic Club. However, the M.D.S. members, whose teams had always been called the Crescents, did not want to give up the name. Consequently, the new organization changed its name to the Crescent Athletic Club. 

The first executive of the Crescent Club was elected in 1921. The members included: Bob Wilson, president; George Thompson, vice-president; Earl Williams, secretary-treasurer; and a sports committee of Leslie McDonald, Earl Pratt, Bud Kreutzweiser, Tom Young, and Floyd McDonald. 

The first sports venture of the new organization was to sponsor a team in the city hockey league. The Crescents expanded their hockey interests when they stepped in to back the Greys. 

During the Crescent Club's first season of sponsorship of the junior team, the 1927 Greys won their second national championship. 

Soon after its inception, the Crescent Club began to sponsor and promote baseball. After almost a decade of supporting baseball, in 1932, a decision was made to back a junior baseball team in the newly organized junior division of the Grey County League.

Under the leadership of coach Bill Garbutt, the Owen Sound nine, won the league title in their first year of competition. However, they were defeated in the first round of the Ontario championships by the Galt Pups, who went on to win the provincial title. 

From this successful first season, the Owen Sound junior team, under the tutelage of Garbutt and Harry Dane, went on to build a reputation in baseball circles for many years. With the emergence of softball as a popular sport, the Crescent Club also sponsored a team in competition. 

Although lacrosse had been played for decades in the area, during the 1920s it had fallen out of favour with many area athletes. In 1927 the Crescent Club, in an attempt to resurrect this great sport, entered a team in a league with Southampton, Hanover, and other area communities. This marked the beginning of a long association between the Crescent Club and Canada's national sport of summer. 

Also, in 1927, the Crescents entered a soccer team in the senior division of the Western Football Association. In their first year the Owen Sound team won the championship. 

Three years later, rugby drew the attention of the Crescent Club. In 1930 a team comprised of former players from the OSCVI was entered in the Ontario Rugby Football Union against teams from Penetang and Camp Borden. This project was short-lived. A lack of public support and the expense of travelling, forced the rugby team to fold after one season. 

The Crescent Club has a long history of sponsorship of sports in Owen Sound. What began with a group of sports-minded individuals hoping to achieve continuity by promoting a few teams — and later leagues — in the city, grew to an organization which became a central focus of athletic endeavours in a community which was extremely sports- oriented. 

A version of "The Crescent Club Has a Long History of Sponsoring Sports in Owen Sound," originally appeared in my Local History column in the March 10, 1997 edition of the Owen Sound Sun Times.

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