re (re): frayne

Major Frederic McLaughlin was not a toper. At home, he and Irene enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner but the Major was not a man to abide a man who abided Demon Rum. This made it difficult for the tall, spare, gentle publicity man of the Hawks, Joe Farrell, who ran up formidable liquor bills assuaging the voracious thirst of the watchdogs of the press who covered the Hawks. The Major steadfastly refused to countenance any expense account that included alcoholic refreshment, and Farrell was hard put to cover costs after a night of revelry entertaining the newshounds during Prohibition. So he began to itemize the purchase of pucks on his expense sheet, pucks by the gross. One day, the Major became aware that Farrell had been buying up enough pucks to float the Wrigley building in a heavy sea.

“What are we doing with all these pucks?” enquired the puzzled Major.

“The hockey writers have been asking for them, Major,” Farrell lied amiably. “They’ve been giving them to their families and friends and the grasping managing editors. They’re in great demand as souvenirs.”

The Major was delighted. “Splendid, splendid,” he exclaimed, to Farrell’s surprise and intense relief. “Nothing can beat word-of-mouth publicity. Keep up the good work.”

• Trent Frayne, “Speaking of Cashews, Meet Major McLaughlin” in The Mad Men of Hockey (1974)