US hopes for 1932 olympic hockey gold? we can win

Rehearsal Space: The 1932 U.S. Olympic team lines up on the ice at Lake Placid at a pre-Games practice session. Back row, from left, they are (I believe; some guesswork involved): coach Alfred (Ralph) Winsor, Ding Palmer, John Garrison, Bob Livingston, Doug Everett, Frank Nelson, John Chase, Joe Fitzgerald. Front row, left to right: Franklin Farrell, Ty Anderson, Gerald Hallock, John Cookman, John Bent, Gordon Smith, and Ted Frazier.

“We have a good team, a strong team, a well-knit organization with a fine sense of team play and exceptional spirit, ” the coach wrote in a column published across North America as his team launched its bid for gold this week in 1932 as the games of the III Winter Olympiad kicked off in Lake Placid, New York. This was Ralph Winsor, long-serving coaching legend of Harvard hockey, where he’d captained before taking to the collegiate bench in 1902. Like this year’s U.S. Olympic team, Winsor’s 1932 charges were college star and minor-league veterans. Yes, Canada had an immaculate record through three previous Olympics, winning championships in 1920, 1924, and 1928. Sure, the Winnipeg team wearing the maple leaf in ’32 was strong. “But,” Winsor wrote in a pre-Olympic preview that the Associated Press sent out, “past experience has shown that no hockey team is invincible.”

Olympic rules, he pointed out, might help his team overthrow the Canadians: no forward passing was allowed in mid-ice or offensive zones, which would “militate against the effectiveness of brilliant individuals” and allow “a relatively slower team” to “be able, through team play, to use the Olympic system to advantage.” A caveat: “I believe, in justice to hockey, that the faster and better team should be enabled, under the rules, to win.” Winsor was optimistic that his team could solve the Canadians. “We tackle them today,” he wrote. “We can win.”

2 thoughts on “US hopes for 1932 olympic hockey gold? we can win

  1. Correction. I am Gordon Smith’s daughter and have much of my father’s 1932 and 1936 Olympic memorabilia, including his jersey! John Garrison is second player from the left in the back row and Gordon Smith is second from the right in the front row, with the white jersey.

  2. Thank you, Virginia. Corrected now. Great to hear from you. Would love to hear more about your father’s Olympic experiences, if you’d be willing to chat. My e-mail is I have a couple of other images of your father on the site, if you search his name.

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