In Rhode Island, the game of Ice Polo was the predominant ice sport at both the high school and collegiate levels at the turn of the twentieth century. Like today’s field hockey, it was played with short sticks with rounded ends and a rubber ball.
It was taken up by Brown University in 1894 and played in four 20-minute quarters. The Bears played against teams representing major athletic clubs dedicated to the sport, such as the Brooklyn, the Cambridge, and the Passaic (NJ) Ice Polo Clubs.
Ice Polo was played from 1898 through the spring of 1902 in RI high schools. Hope Street, as it was then called, captured the title each year, sharing the crown with East Providence for two of them. However, in the Fall of 1902, Hope decided to play hockey rather than ice polo.
There was a great stir at the school that year when it was announced that Brown University had offered a cup, later to be named “The Brown Cup”, to be given to the best “prep school hockey team” and to be open to all schools in the state.
Since outdoor ice was not a permanent winter feature in Rhode Island, the league’s regular season hockey schedule and that for the Brown Cup tournament were necessarily short. One game with each team for each title would have to suffice.
Without a formal coach, Hope was guided by its team captain Harold Grimes and took both the Interscholastic title and The Brown Cup, as well.