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Canada Basketball – Toronto, ON (July 23, 2018) – Canada Basketball mourns the loss of Kay MacBeth (nee MacRitchie), the last surviving member of the Edmonton Grads, who passed away on Saturday, July 21, at age 96.

“On behalf of Canada Basketball, I’d like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Kay MacBeth,” said Wayne Parrish, Co-Chair of the Canada Basketball Board of Directors.  “MacBeth and the Edmonton Grads transformed the sport in Canada and were an inspiration to women’s basketball players not only across the country but around the world.”

Raised in Saskatchewan, MacBeth was only 17 years old when she joined the Grads in 1939 for their final two seasons and was one of just 38 official players who competed for the team over the course of their 25-year career.

From their founding in 1915 as women’s high-school team until the final game in 1940, the Commercial Graduates Basketball Club as they were formally know, complied an unprecedented 502-20 record, establishing the North American record with the best winning percentage of all time.

In addition to capturing 23 provincial championships, the Grads won all 21 Western Canadian Championship games they played from 1926-1940 and never lost a series in the Canadian Championships from 1922-1940.

In 1924, the Federation Sportive Feminine Internationale declared the Grads World Champions.

Although women’s basketball was not officially an Olympic sport until 1976, the Grads competed in four straight Exhibition Olympic Games, winning all 27 matches during the 1920s and 1930s.

Dr. James Naismith once referred to the Grads as “the finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor.”

MacBeth, along with the rest of her Edmonton Grads teammates, was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.  In 2017, the team was also inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.


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