such a sinecure

port arthur 1936

The last time Canadians played Latvians at the Olympics was February of 1936, on the second day of competition at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. Canada had started the tournament with a game against Poland, which they’d won, 8-1, in a snowstorm out on the natural ice of Lake Riessersee. When they met the Latvians at the main rink, the Kunsteisstadion, the snow was still blowing, though it stopped as the game  got going, and the sun parted the clouds. Canadian coach Albert Pudas had switched his goalies, putting in 20-year-old Nash from Port Arthur (13, above) in place of Dinty Moore (not shown). “He had an easy time hanging up a shutout in his first Olympic game,” Pudas reported next day in a frontline dispatch for Canadian Press. Toronto’s Daily Star:

He had so little to do he was skating around in front of his net a good deal of the time to keep warm. The Latvians hoisted one puck at Nash in the first period and hardly more than that in the other two chapters.

Latvia, Coach Pudas said, played poorly, and 90 per cent of the game was played in their defensive zone. He cited the steady work of his two defenceman, Montreal’s Herman Murray (7) and Ray Milton from Port Arthur (9), though “the game was such a sinecure they spent most of the time in Latvia’s territory.”

Of the forwards, Montrealers Hugh Farquharson (not shown) and Ralph St. Germain (8) were the main marksmen, scoring four goals and three, respectively. The Daily Star:

The Canadians seemed to improve as the game progressed. Five-man attacks raced in on the Latvian goalkeeper, Lapainis, who stopped 31 well-aimed shots in the last period alone.

After the first period, the ice was clear and hard. Final score: Canadians 11, Latvians 0. When it was all over, the Star said, most of the spectators were convinced that Canada had a stranglehold on the Olympic title.