herbie, honey

lewis Needler, Needlee: As NHL training camps move today from the medical room to the ice, a throwback to 1935, when Detroit ‘s trainer Honey Walker, right, inoculated left winger Herbie Lewis against — well, who knows. The Leafs, maybe? Calgary-born, Lewis won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and was elevated to the Hall of Fame in 1989. He noted then that the most he ever made in his 11 seasons in the NHL was $8,000. His citation at the Hall notes that he was the NHL’s fastest skater in his day, “with his trademark short, mincing steps.” His speed got him up on the big screen as he started his professional career. “At Detroit recently he posed for a motion picture concern, in a series of hockey flashes, and these films are to be shown in 104 theatres in Detroit.” That’s from The Lethbridge Herald, reporting in 1929.

In his first picture Lewis is shown circling the net, and skating down the ice stick-handling through his opposition for a goal. As he shoots, he is sprawling on the ice. The second picture shows a close-up. The third picture is styled perfect team work, in which George Hay and [Carson] Cooper make a rush down the ice, passing the puck and beating the defence.

Jack Adams prized him as a penalty-killer and all-round other-sport-shaming athletic exemplar. “He is a sportsman of the highest type,” the feisty Detroit manager once testified. “I defy baseball or football or boxing or any other sport to produce an individual who can eclipse Herbie Lewis as a perfect model of what any athlete should stand for.”

breaking now: teemu selänne ei pitänyt valmentaja bruce boudreau

teemuTeemu isn’t published in Finland until tomorrow, and Ari Mennander’s biography of the legendary Selanne won’t be out in English until some time in 2015. That doesn’t mean there isn’t news today to fill Helsinki newspapers and the Twittershire alike, most of it regarding what the affable, accomplished and not-long retired Flash has to say about his coach in Anaheim, Bruce Boudreau.

If you’re an elder and high-achieving Finnish right winger, Mennander is your go-to biographer, I guess: he is, at least, the man behind Jari Kurri 17 (2001), which you can get in English. A quick browse of those pages — in particular the ones devoted to Edmonton coach Glen Sather — suggest that it’s safe reading for all the family.

Not having seen (much less being able to understand) what Selanne has to say in the original Finnish, I’m not in no position to confirm that he “demolishes” or “blasts” Boudreau, who took over as coach of the Ducks in November of 2011. Those are typical of the verbs that are headlining North American reports about the book today, at Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy and the Los Angeles Times respectively. According to what Juha Hiitela (@jhiitela) has been (helpfully) translating and tweeting throughout the day, Selanne does mention that “there’s nothing wrong with my relationship with Boudreau. In fact, he’s a nice man.” But Hiitela, who writes for the Helsinki sports magazine Urheilusanomat, also notes that Selanne wasn’t always happy with his ice-time under the coach (“He didn’t keep his promises”). And: during the first intermission of Anaheim’s seventh-game loss to Los Angeles on May 16, Selanne sent out a text from the Ducks’ dressing room to his wife and a couple of friends, writing (in English): “fucking joke.”

Ari Mennander’s Teemu is available to order (in Finnish) here. If savouring a headline (multilingually) is all you need at this point, this is from the Helsinki tabloid Ilta-Sanomat today:

selanne joke

in russia, we have a proverb

cccpAnatoli Tarasov brought the Soviet national team to Canada in the winter of 1969 for an eight-game exhibition tour. The Soviets were on a seven-year golden streak at the World Championships at the time. The team they brought to Canada included Vyacheslav Starshinov, Anatoli Firsov, Valeri Kharlamov, Alexander Maltsev, Vladimir Petrov, and a stripling goaltender by the name of Vladislav Tretiak. Mostly they were here to play Canada’s ill-starred Nationals, coached by Jack McLeod, though there were also a few games against Junior A teams.

The Soviets starting with a win, in Winnipeg, while McLeod’s Nats took the second game, 4-3 — the first time a Canadian team had beaten their Russian rivals in almost two years. The Canadians had Wayne Stephenson for a goaltender and Fran Huck was in the line-up, along with a handful of former NHLers, including former Leafs Brian Conacher and Billy Harris. Earlier that year, the International Ice Hockey Federation had voted to allow Canada to bring nine non-NHL professionals to the upcoming 1970 World Championships, scheduled for Montreal and Winnipeg. So that was good, for Canada, right up until January, when the IIHF changed its mind, no pros would be permitted after all, and Canada withdrew from the World Championships and Olympics altogether, taking their pucks and going home. Or staying home — the World Championships went ahead in Stockholm, where the Soviets won, again. McLeod’s Nationals disbanded and Father David Bauer’s dream died; when Canadians returned to play in the World Championships in 1977 it was with a team of NHLers whose teams had missed the playoffs.

In 1969, Tarasov had no interest in playing the Junior A games that the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association had arranged. “I am not happy to play with teams that are not good,” he said after the USSR beat the Ottawa 67s 8-3 on Christmas Eve. It was a game, as Rex MacLeod wrote in The Globe and Mail, that “degenerated into a high-sticking, slugging and punching match in the third period.” Starshinov and Evgeny Zimin left the game with separated shoulders; two players from each team were ejected after a late brawl.

“Next time we’ll bring our boxing team,” Tarasov muttered when it was over.

tarasovThe team went to Montreal on December 29 to play the Montreal Junior Canadiens, the defending Memorial Cup champions who felt the need to bolster themselves for the night with nine minor-league professionals. As The Toronto Star reported next day, the enhanced Juniors prevailed by a score of 9-3, with youngsters named Gilbert Perreault and Rejean Houle contributing a couple of goals each.

Appearing in the Star’s Sports pages alongside the report of that drubbing was an article (translated from the Russian) by the losing coach himself. Denis Smith was Master of Champlain College at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, at the time. He was one Canadian fan who read “Russia’s Tarasov Examines NHL Play” that day, the one who found a poem in it, waiting to be extracted and arranged, which he did, using the master’s own words, adding only a title:

The Lessons of Anatoli Tarasov

Your hockey, to begin with,
has a lot of merit.
It is a kind of beautiful entertainment.
In professional hockey,
you have very strong men —
athletes who are fit.
They have strength of will
and character.

And then, your spectators:
They know a great deal about the game.
Every person who is present in the arena
or who watches on TV
wants to be a part of this entertainment.
As I said earlier, though,
I am a coach:
So I have no room for sentimentality.

Your hockey,
both offensively and defensively,
is based on simple tactical decisions.
In Russia, we have a proverb
that in simplicity lies wisdom.
I don’t think it applies
in the case of great hockey.

Remember how many times
you have seen this:
The player skates to the blue line,
the puck
and follows in —
never thinking
about setting up a beautiful scoring play.

It is impossible to play the same game
for years and years.
the pattern of the game should be changed
from time to time.
In your game of professional hockey,
you get enough scoring,
but it is not satisfying to me, personally, how goals are scored.

Finally, a few comments regarding rules
and officiating.
It’s a pity, but
we are having the same problem in amateur hockey:
Show me, please,
where it is written in the bible
that it is legal to stop an opponent with a stick —
or to fight him.


kicks by horses, pecks by roosters

“Motor and industrial accidents, knife and bullet wounds, injuries in warfare and fist-fights, blows by balls and by sticks and canes, falls on the head, fencing and sabre duelling, arteriotomy, kicks by horses and pecks by roosters have been described as causes of pseudoaneurysms of the temporal artery. So far as we are aware, blows by hockey pucks have not been implicated previously, but we would defend our use of the term ‘puck aneurysm’ as a means to drawing attention to a potentially serious hazard in an internationally popular sport. Although it is well known that to be struck in the head by a hockey puck cannot be an entirely benign event, it is perhaps insufficiently appreciated that a regulation hockey puck weighs 165 grams and may travel at a velocity in excess of 120 feet per second. When such a missile strikes the head, delayed as well as sequelae cannot be wholly unexpected.”

• Doctors J.S. Campbell, Pierre Fournier, and D.P. Hill in “Puck Aneurysm,” a 1959 study of puck-triggered traumatic pseudoaneurysms of the superficial temporal artery for The Canadian Medical Association Journal



ebbie gEbbie Goodfellow was a Detroit Olympic and a Falcon and a Cougar early in his career, but he built his Hall-of-Fame career as a Red Wing. He played at both centre and on defence, captaining the team in 1934-35 and again from 1938 through 1942. He was (said The Ottawa Journal) “possessed of one of the hardest and truest shots in hockey.” He won three Stanley Cups, the last one in 1943 as the Red Wings’ player-coach. He read Old Mother Goose at least once — above, with his son, Ebbie, Jr., in February of 1939.

the man cambridge could not hold


The 1954 Oxford touring team, left, poses with the home team in Grindelwald, Switzerland. The Swiss won the game that followed the photographing, 7-3. David Harley wears the C for Oxford; Denis Smith is third on his right.

I went to see David Harley a few years ago to talk hockey, which he was always happy to do, even though, as he told me that day, he didn’t have much time for the game we see now in the NHL. The two hours we spent going through the pages of a 50-year-old scrapbook of his took us far away from that, to another version of the game in another time, games played long ago at rinks in Grimsby and Blackpool and Southampton and in the frigid open air of Mannheim and Bolzano and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

He was a lawyer in Toronto, and that’s where he lived for most of his life, but he was a proud New Brunswicker all that while, born in Saint John, schooled in Rothesay. I’m sad to write it: he died on September 1 at the age of 83. He was one of my father’s best friends, a man of immense kindness, good humour, and enthusiasm. Seeing how he conducted himself in the world I always thought, yes, right, that’s how it’s done.

He was a very good athlete. He played rugby at the University of Toronto, where he captained the varsity team while completing undergraduate and masters degrees in History. He went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and that’s where he got his law degree, at University College. He had his skates with him there, and with my father, Denis, who was studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics, he skated for the varsity hockey team. Both of them would end up as captains of the team before they returned home to careers and families.

Mostly they were Canadians who lined up for the Dark Blues. The team played throughout England during term, and barnstormed the continent for several weeks each winter. The big annual match was the one in February against Cambridge, a tradition that started in 1900. David and my father both got their introduction to the inter-varsity rivalry in 1954, when Oxford prevailed by a score of 7-4. In the program from that game, David is introduced as “a left shot but a high-scoring rightwinger.” He was 22. He scored a pair of goals; the Oxford Mail admired his “sparkling solo runs.”

I read about the 1955 match in his scrapbook. The Daily Express account wasn’t one I knew. Teammate Ian MacDonald was “the cool executioner,” scoring four goals in two minutes. He didn’t stop there: he had nine to his name before the game was over. “Hapless Pettigrew,” the paper called the Cambridge goaltender, John, a friend of my father’s from Montreal. Friendship could be why he limited himself to putting just four pucks into the net. John Duby, a defenceman, was the only Oxford player who didn’t notch a goal. David scored twice. In the program, he’s identified as “the club’s leading playmaker.” Over on the Cambridge page, all the players’ nicknames are noted: Gru, Weevil, Buck, Kipper, and Harry the Horse are some of them.

A crowd of 6,000 looked on at the Richmond Ice Rink. With three minutes left and a tally of 27-0 on the board for Oxford, a Cambridge supporter said, “You wait, the game ain’t over yet.”

Final score: Oxford 29, Cambridge 0. There’s never been a bigger whomping in all the history between the two teams.

“Harley Routs Cambridge” was the Daily Express headline in 1956. He wore the C in that game, and a pair of glasses. The News Chronicle noted that without the efforts of a new (Canadian) Cambridge goaler, Fred Meredith, Oxford would have exceeded the previous year’s score. 11-1 was all they could manage in the event. The Chronicle:

David Harley, with his rink-length scoring dashes, was the man Cambridge could not hold.

He scored Oxford’s first four goals — assisted in two others, and then cracked home the eleventh in the final seconds.


Oxford’s 1955 Canadian Cambridge-whompers pose with the inter-varsity Patton Cup. Left to right, they’re Guy MacLean, John Duby, team manager Paul Fritz-Nemeth de Freidenlieb, unknown, Alex McIntyre, unknown, David Harley, Denis Smith, Ian Macdonald, Ian Stewart, Otto Lang, Storrs McCall, John Lewis, and Roy Morrison.

colour commentator

vancouver 1914Today we remember them as the Millionaires, and it’s true that that’s one of the names Vancouver’s entry in the PCHA bore from 1912 until they officially took it on in 1914, but they were also known during that time as the Allstars, the Railbirds, and the Terminals. Historian Craig Bowlsby tells the story better than anyone else in his comprehensive 2012 history, Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Hockey Association, 1911-1926. You’ll find the story there of the Stanley Cup that the Millionaires won in 1915 after they defeated the Ottawa Senators in three games at the Denman Arena. Posed here, above, is the 1913-14 edition of the team, an impressive group in its own right. That’s Cyclone Taylor at the back, second from the right. Upfront sit Hall-of-Famers Si Griffis (hatted, second from left), Frank Patrick (centre), and Frank Nighbor (on the right end).

If you haven’t seen them looking this lively before, that’s because Mark Truelove only got around to transforming the original black-and-white archival photograph — that’s it, below — earlier this year. Truelove is the Vancouver-area man who’s taken to tinting historical photos as a hobby. Along with the occasional hockey player, his subjects to date have included images of old Vancouver; Grey Owl and his baby beaver; trainwrecks and baseball teams; war heroes; old voyageurs; and Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. “I got into colourizing when I started looking into my family history,” he was saying last week of the project he calls Canadian Colour. “I wanted to see my relatives in a new light and I saw a colourization someone else had done and taught myself how to do it. I have no art/photography background but I just persevered with it until they started looking right to me.”

The results are remarkable. Take a look at the Canadian Colour Facebook page, here, or follow on Twitter, @CanadianColour.

vancouver bwBack: Smokey Harris, Sibby Nichols, Pete Muldoon, Cyclone Taylor, Chuck Clark
Front: Russell Lynn, Si Griffis, Frank Patrick, Allan Parr, Frank Nighbor

[Photo: Vancouver Archives, AM1535-: CVA 99-126]


day labour


mush march gas

All through the winter of 1934 and into the spring, Harold March laboured on ice, skating the right wing for Chicago’s Black Hawks. Mush, they called him, so you can, too: sturdy and small and demon are some of the adjectives he went by in his day as a hockey player. Born in Silton, Saskatchewan, he’s remembered for having scored the first-ever goal at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931: he beat Toronto’s Lorne Chabot. (March still had the puck when he died in 2002: he kept on his bedroom dresser.)

When, in April of 1934, Chicago won its first Stanley Cup by beating the Detroit Red Wings, March was the one to clinch it. In the last of the series’ four games, after four and a half scoreless periods, March took a pass from Doc Romnes. Scuttled is the verb the Montreal Gazette uses to describe how he got around Detroit’s Walter Buswell; that done, he slashed a shot that flashed waist high past goalie Wilf Cude.

A month later he was (above) working the pumps. In years to come he’d spend his summers as a golf pro, but in ’34 as a Stanley Cup hero he put on shirt and tie, brogues and a suit of coveralls and leased this service station from Standard Oil. It was at the corner of Kostner and Montrose on Chicago’s North Side, where a Jiffy Lube does its business today.

(Photo: Howe & Arthur)



hockeytown, moscow oblast

Homecupping: Viacheslav Kozlov of the Detroit Red Wings brings the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Voskresensk, southeast of Moscow, on August 19, 1997. Red Wings owner Mike Illitch is Kozlov's left, with Cupkeeper Phil Pritchard from the Hockey Hall of Fame two over from him. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

Homecupping: Vyacheslav Kozlov of the Detroit Red Wings brings the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Voskresensk, southeast of Moscow, on August 19, 1997. Red Wings owner Mike Illitch is Kozlov’s left, with Cupkeeper Phil Pritchard from the Hockey Hall of Fame two over from him. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

red army, red square, red wings

Wings Fan:  A Red Army recruit shows off a Detroit Red Wings glossy scored during a visit by Viacheslav Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, and Igor Larionov to Moscow's Red Square on August 18, 1997. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

Wings Fan: A Red Army recruit shows off a Detroit Red Wings glossy scored during a visit by Viacheslav Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, and Igor Larionov to Moscow’s Red Square on August 18, 1997. (Photo: Stephen Smith)


the stanley cup + lenin

Red Square snapshot: Slava Fetisov focusses on friends (including his CSKA, CCCP and Detroit teammate Igor Larionov) in front of Lenin’s tomb in Moscow on August 18, 1997, just before going in for a visit with the erstwhile chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union.

Red Square snapshot: Slava Fetisov focusses on friends (including his CSKA, CCCP and Detroit teammate Igor Larionov) in front of Lenin’s tomb in Moscow on August 18, 1997, just before going in for a visit with the erstwhile chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union. (Photo: Stephen Smith)