mr. queasy

Everybody knows about Glenn Hall’s stomach: his habit of throwing up before (and sometimes during) each game he played is a standby of hockey lore. “It’s dutifully mentioned in his biography at the Hockey Hall of Fame,” I wrote about Hall (photographed above in 1958) and his nauseous rituals in Puckstruck, the book.

“We’d hear him in the bathroom,” teammate Bob Plager said, that’s how they knew he was ready to go. His penchant, it’s sometimes called. Every game he puked? If that’s so, then the NHL (and maybe even gastrological) record would have to sit in the vomit of 906 regular season games and a further 115 in the playoffs.

Hall himself thought the media went a little overboard reporting on all this.

“I think hockey is a wonderful game — to watch,” he also confided, elsewhere. “But I hate every minute I play. I’m sick to my stomach before the game, between periods and from the start of the season to the end. There’s no such thing as an easy night for a goalie, not even if he never gets a shot to stop during the whole game.”

Red Berenson, a good friend, saw the sickness in a slightly different hue. He thought it was glorious. “That was proof of the pride he took in his game. It was how he showed his competitive instinct. He was totally dedicated to playing the game as well as he possibly could. It was his life.”

(Photo: Louis Jaques, Library and Archives Canada/e002343729)