Mid-week, the news out of Seattle was brighter, edged with hope. “Late last night the conditions of Hall and McDonald were reported to be improving,” newspapers like the Saskatoon Daily Star were reporting on Wednesday, April 2, 1919. “Lalonde, Kennedy, Couture, and Berlanquette [sic] are all showing signs of quick recovery. Their temperatures were reported as normal and the doctor expects them to be up in a few days.”
The day before, Tuesday, the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals had been called off as players from both the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle’s own Metropolitans fell ill with the virulent H1N1 virus — Spanish flu. Montreal’s Joe Hall and Jack McDonald were the most serious cases; also suffering were captain Newsy Lalonde, Bert Corbeau, and Louis Berlinguette.
Thursday brought news that Montreal winger Odie Cleghorn had fallen sick, too, and that Kennedy’s condition had worsened. Hall’s temperature was reported to be 103.
Friday’s Seattle Star noted that three members of the Seattle club were in Providence Hospital: coach Pete Muldoon and defencemen Roy Rickey and Muzz Murray. Other papers noted that Rickey’s wife and child were also unwell. It’s not entirely clear where Hall was at this point — several contemporary dispatches name Columbus Sanitarium while other mention the Providence. Either way, he was struggling. PCHA president Frank Patrick told Vancouver reporters that Hall’s condition was “a matter of grave concern.”
“Hall,” he reported, “has developed pneumonia and his condition last night was critical. His mother and brother Bert are at the bedside. The other members of the visiting team who were stricken with flu are on the road to recovery, but Jack McDonald is not yet out of danger.”
“Joe,” Patrick added, “is a fighter and he will fight it out.”
Saturday’s headlines, 101 years ago today, reflected no improvements in Hall’s condition. He died at three o’clock in the afternoon at the age of 37. As well as his wife, Mary, he left two sons, Joe and Billy, and a daughter, Margaret. I don’t know about the children, but Mary Hall was on her way to Seattle from the family’s home in Brandon, Manitoba, at the time of her husband’s death.
Joe Hall’s was buried in Vancouver, at Mountain View Cemetery, on Tuesday, April 8. Serving as pallbearers at the funeral were Lester Patrick, coach of Victoria’s PCHA team, and a pair of Hall’s friends from the Vancouver Millionaires, Si Griffis and Cyclone Taylor, along with Bert Corbeau, Louis Berlinguette, and Newsy Lalonde from the Canadiens.
Odie Cleghorn was at the funeral, and he was able to depart Vancouver on Wednesday, April 9, with his teammates, headed for the east and home. George Kennedy expected to leave hospital in Seattle that day, too, along with Jack McDonald. The latter, it was reported on Tuesday, was “resting easy,” his temperature “nearly normal.”
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Great stories connected to the 1919 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Spanish Influenza. Would love for you to speak with author Ken Rosen, who featured this in his 2017 book “1919: The Search for Mankind’s Greatest Killer.” Here’s a link to an interview he did with a Nashville tv station last week so you can hear some of his story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5dpmYOPxuU. Let me know if you’re interested in speaking to Ken – it’ll make great content for your blog.
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