gaineyesque

“The curly-headed lad from the lakehead has speed, power, and a vicious shot. He revels in the heavy-going and can carry a big load alone when a team is faltering.” That was the Montreal Gazette‘s 1927 scouting report on Jimmy Ward, the young right winger from Fort William, Ontario, who’d just signed with the local Maroons. A steady scorer and tenacious checker, Ward went on to play 11 seasons with the team, becoming one of its most respected players, and winning a championship, to boot, when the Maroons claimed the Stanley Cup in 1935. He suffered a serious concussion that same year after a mid-season collision with Boston’s Eddie Shore. Ward’s luck was better than Toronto’s Ace Bailey, whose NHL career was ended as the result of a 1933 clash with Shore; Ward was back on the ice after a little more than two weeks’ convalescence. After the Maroons folded in 1938, he played his final NHL season with the Canadiens. In the 1980s, Gazette columnist Tim Burke asked a colleague who, as a boy, had watched Ward play whether he was the Bob Gainey of his time. “Yeah, but I think he was better,” Marc Thibeault opined. “He scored more in the clutch.” Ward died on a Thursday of today’s date in 1990, at the age of 84.

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