gold standard

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, respect to Kenneth Moore, Peepeekisis First Nation, who played fleet right wing for Winnipeg when they won the hockey championship representing Canada at the wintry 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Born in 1910 near Balcarres, Saskatchewan, Moore is recognized as the first Indigenous athlete to win Olympic gold. He got into the line-up for Canada’s penultimate game on Lake Placid ice, scoring a goal in the team’s 10-0 win over Poland. Moore’s hockey resumé also includes a 1930 Abbott Cup (Western Canadian Junior championship), which he won playing the Regina Pats; a 1930 Memorial Cup (Moore scored the goal that secured the championship over the West Toronto Nationals); and a pair of Allan Cup championships, in 1932 with Winnipeg and in 1936 with the Kimberley Dynamiters. Kenneth Moore died in 1981 at the age of 71.

Manitoba Proud: Coach Jack Hughes steered Canada’s Olympians to gold in Lake Placid in 1932. He’s in the middle of the front row, fifth from the right. Kenneth Moore, also upfront, is second from left. Goaltender Bill Cockburn is next to him, on the end at far left.

wingman

Sweet Sixteen: Born in the hockey hotbed of Warroad, Minnesota, on a Friday of this date in 1951, Henry Boucha is 71 today. A centreman, Boucha helped the United States win a silver medal at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. His NHL career spanned six seasons, during which he skated for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Colorado Rockies, and Kansas City Scouts; he had a season, as well, with Minnesota’s WHA Fighting Saints. That’s him here, numbered 16, sporting his trademark headband, in LeRoy Neiman’s vivid 1973 serigraph, “Red Goal.” His happy teammates are harder to identify. Tim Ecclestone? Nick Libett? The referee has a bit of a Ron Wicks air to him — unless it’s a Lloyd Gilmour look?

dr. d

Oiler Toiler: Born in Edmonton on a Sunday of this date in 1956, Dr. Randy Gregg is 66 today, so salutations to him. A long-time Edmonton physician specializing in sports medicine, in days of yore he played a decade on defence in the NHL, standing 6’4″ and winning five Stanley Cups with the Oilers between 1984 and 1990. Twice he represented Canada at the Winter Olympics, in 1980 and ’88.

shovel-ready

Plow Share: “A steady snowfall and frequent pauses made today’s game an almost intolerably slow spectacle,” Albion Ross of the New York Times carped in February of 1936 after the U.S. opened its Winter Olympic account against hosts Germany on the outdoor ice of Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s stadium. The pauses were for the snow-plowers, above, who did yeoman’s work in the blizzard that ensued. The Americans managed a 1-0 win, though there was grumbling from the home team, with Herman Kleeberg, head of the German hockey federation,  claiming that the game had ended “irregularly” because, while tournament officials had proposed to suspend play due to the snowfall, U.S. coach Walter Brown had refused because the U.S. was winning. The Germans later clarified that while they had thought that the game should be halted, they respected the referee’s decision to continue, and that the matter was closed as far as they were concerned. Coach Brown said that he’d given up midway through the game trying to assess his own players. “Conditions were so terrible,” he said, “I don’t know anything more about the team than I knew before.”

gold for canada, 1932: apart from these eccentricities, the game more or less made sense

Gold Guard: Goaltender Bill Cockburn captained Canada’s triumphant 1932 Olympic team. He’s wearing his Winnipeg Hockey Club sweater here.

There was no miracle on the ice at Lake Placid on this date in 1932, just the same old same-old: Canada won Olympic gold.

But it was close.

For the first time in four Olympic hockey tournaments spanning 12 years and 17 games, a Canadian team failed to register a win. That Saturday 90 years ago, the best Canada’s team could manage was a 2-2 tie against the host team in front of a packed house at the Olympic Arena. The Americans were leading 2-1 almost to the end, too: with just 33 seconds remaining on the clock in the third period, Canadian left winger Romeo Rivers sent a shot in from the blueline that beat U.S. goaltender Franklin Farrell.

The teams played three 10-minute periods of overtime without another goal. A U.S. win would have seen the tournament extended by another game, with the two old rivals meeting again to decide a winner. As it stood, the tie was enough to secure the championship for Canada.

Canadians on the were, predictably, exultant. Winnipeg Mayor Ralph Webb was at the game and his exuberance was soon cabled back to Manitoba. “The boys played a wonderful game,” he declared, “and the score does not represent the real game they played. All Canada should be proud as Winnipeg is of them.”

Memories of the mighty Winnipeg Falcons were widely invoked, that plucky team of Icelandic-Canadians who’d claimed gold in Antwerp in 1920. Interestingly, according to W.A. Hewitt in the Toronto Daily Star and others, that original title wasn’t entered in official Olympic records.

“The international Olympic committee a few years ago decided to erase the 1920 Winter Sports from the records,” Vern DeGeer recalled in his Windsor Star column.

“According to the International Olympic committee,” reported Hewitt, a member of Canada’s Olympic committee, “it is only the third title for Canada.”

Amid the celebratory columns that showed up over the next few days in Canadian newsprint were several gleeful accounts of American gaffes.

The game was broadcast across both the NBC rand Columbia radio networks, with Ted Husing providing play-by-play for the latter. “He came out with a flock of new terms,” columnist Johnny Buss wrote in the Winnipeg Tribune, but considering it was his first attempt at broadcasting a hockey game he did well.”

He continued:

The puck was always a ball, according to Husing, and the American players were constantly flashing like “blue streaks” down the “alleys.” The penalty box was the “jury box,” and once Bill Cockburn was guilty of “heeling the ball,” whatever that may mean. Apart from these eccentricities, the report of the game more or less made sense.

Toronto’s Daily Star told the tale of the band that was on hand at the Olympic Arena. With minutes remaining in the game and the U.S. leading 2-1, the bandleader told his charges to be prepared to play the Star-Spangled Banner. The Star’s account of this is unbylined, but it’s likely that it was written by sports editor Lou Marsh, who just happened to be refereeing the final.

“He was all excited and joyed up,” the Star wrote of the bandleader. And went on:

Now the band was stationed in the alleyway around the Canuck players’ bench and they heard his excited orders. Then Rivers scored the tying goal — the winning goal, really — and sent the game into overtime. You can guess what disposition the exulting Canadian players invited the bandleader to make of his anthem when Rivers tied the game up.”

And the band DID NOT play “The Star Spangled Banner!”

Neither DID they play “The Maple Leaf” or “O Canada!”

They just folded up and departed!

 Embed from Getty Images

canada v usa, 1932: a little shaken by the unexpected turn of events

Placid Puck: On outdoor ice on February 4, 1932, Canada and the U.S. opened the 1932 Olympic tournament, with the visitors winning 2-1 in overtime. Broadly banded around the chest to show they’re U.S. defenceman are Ty Anderson (#5) and John Garrison. Canada’s #2 is defenceman Roy Henkel.

“The Canadian team had shown such terrible form … that their officers were commencing to cultivate brows like old-fashioned washboards.”

“To tell the honest truth, the team Canada has to depend upon looked worse than awful.”

Oh, it all worked out in the end in February of 1932, at the Winter Olympics, for Canada, in hockey. It just wasn’t as easy as it might have been for the Winnipeg Hockey Club, the team charged with upholding Canada’s golden honour at hockey’s fourth Olympics. That the gloomy words above were written and published for a national audience to ponder by the man who refereed every one of the Canada’s games during the tournament might seem a little strange, but, well, that’s how it went in those years. Lou Marsh, the sports editor for the Toronto Daily Star whose record of racism has recently come under renewed scrutiny, was in Lake Placid in ’32 as a working reporter, albeit one with a unique perch: along with an American colleague, Donald Sands, Marsh was one of the officials who oversaw every game at of the tournament. (He was, it’s true, a seasoned veteran, having moonlit as an NHL referee for more than a decade.)

By February 7, when Marsh was furrowing his own brow, Canada had played three games. After opening the tournament against the hosts from the United States with a 2-1 overtime win on February 4, they’d (reluctantly) skated in an exhibition game, losing 2-0 to McGill.

Next, back to the fight for gold, came Germany, who insisted on succumbing by a mere 4-1. This was just getting silly. Four years earlier, Canadians had been lapping Swedes and Czechs by scores of 33-0 and 30-0.

Lake Placid had a brand-new indoor hockey rink that year, but as Marsh explained it, the organizers preferred a second, outdoor, venue at the local Stadium, where they could accommodate more spectators and sell more tickets. The Stadium rink was narrow and, for the first meeting between Canada and the U.S., its ice was soft and spongy. That worried Marsh, on Canada’s behalf. “If these games continue on these outdoor rinks, Canada is not out of the woods yet, Anything can happen.”

The Americans, the referee warned, were a real threat.

“True enough,” he wrote following the overtime win, “it was nothing like a good hockey match to look at, but those Yanks know what it is all about and they made the going tough for the Canucks.”

Wearing his newspaperman’s hat, Marsh had done his best to toughen the going for the Americans before the tournament got underway. In January, Ralph Winsor’s U.S. aggregation of college players had played an Olympic warm-up game at Boston’s Garden against the NHL Bruins. The pros prevailed by a score of 5-1, with Art Chapman netting four goals.

But (the Boston Globe judged) “the amateurs left an impression that the shield of these United States is to be worn by a group of right smart hockey players.” The U.S. team further profited from the experience by receiving gate receipts from the game to help finance their foray to Lake Placid. If no-one south of the Canadian border saw anything untoward in this, there were those to the north who did. Lou Marsh took it upon himself to cable Paul Loicq, president of the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace (forerunner of the IIHF), to wonder whether the U.S. hadn’t broken rules governing amateurism and the Olympics.

After years as a sports columnist at Toronto’s Daily Star, Marsh had in the fall of 1931 succeeded to the role of editor when his long-time boss, W.A. Hewitt, accepted a job from Conn Smythe as attractions manager of his brand-new Maple Leaf Gardens. Hewitt, Foster’s father, had strong Olympic hockey ties himself, having accompanied the 1920 Canadian team to the very first tournament in Antwerp as a reporter and representative of the Canadian Olympic Association.

In 1932, Hewitt was serving as the COC’s manager of winter sports while still writing for the Star. Pointing out the U.S. transgression, Marsh quoted Hewitt in his COC role as saying he didn’t think Canada should lodge an official protest. Which they didn’t, in the end. While Paul Loicq confirmed that the U.S. had broken the rules, without Canada’s objection, no further action was taken.

Back on the ice in the Adirondacks, Canada recorded a restorative 9-0 drubbing of the Poles on February 8, and that must have calmed some nerves. The Germans got the message, sort of, losing 5-0 when the teams met for a second time. Next day, when it was Poland’s turn again, the Winnipegs patiently re-drubbed them 10-0.

Which was better. More Canadian, certainly. In the final (indoors at the Arena), the Winnipegs faced the United States again, on February 13. Lou Marsh noted a quirk of the American wardrobe in his Star column before the game: as seen in the image at the top, Ralph Winsor’s defencemen wore sweaters featuring a broad white band around the chest, to distinguish them and remind their teammates on the forward line of their defensive responsibilities.

“Any time a forward sees a player with this broad white band pass him going down the ice,” Marsh wrote, “he knows that the defence is temporarily weakened and that he must cover up for a return rush.”

In the game, the Americans twice had the audacity to take the lead and twice — “a little shaken by the unexpected turn of events,” as the Toronto Globe reported — Canada was forced to tie it up. That’s how the game ended, 2-2, which was just enough to give Canada the gold, on points, even as the country considered the disturbing shift in Olympic hockey that we’ve been struggling with ever since: other teams, from other countries, seemed like they wanted to win gold just as much as we did.

Reftop: When he wasn’t writing and editing sports at the Toronto Daily Star, Lou Marsh worked as an NHL referee. Not certain why he was up on the roof in his skates and his reffing gear, but it’s fair to surmise that he’s up atop the old Star building in Toronto at 80 King Street West. (Image: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3610)

unabashed, the germans battered manfully (lacked sadly in cooperation and general hockey craft)

Crash That Net: Canadians (in white) harry the German net on Saturday, February 6, 1932, at the Olympic Stadium in Lake Placid, NY. Down in the German net is goaltender Walter Leinweber. Canada prevailed 4-1 on the day.

The first time Canada took on Germany at an Olympics was in 1932 in Lake Placid, New York. The teams played twice in that tournament, 90 years ago this month, on Saturday, February 6 and then again on the Monday, February 8. That’s action from the former here, above. “Unabashed by their 7-0 defeat at the hands of the United States last night,” a Canadian Press account went, “the Germans started the game tonight with a fine turn of speed and a great deal of courage that battered manfully at the tough Winnipegs’ defence for two periods before they got anywhere near Bill Cockburn in the Canadian goal.” The game was played outdoors, at the rink at the Olympic Stadium. Canada won by a score of 4-1, with centre Walter Monson leading the way with a pair of goals.

“The husky Teutons” was a phrase of Ralph Allen’s, deployed in the Winnipeg Tribune after the teams’ second encounter, which was played indoors at the Olympic Arena. Another reporter wrote that “what the Germans lacked in hockey skill they made up for with sheer grit.” CP’s Wallace Ward praised their “plucky persistence.”

“They were decisively outclassed, however, and their desperate thrusts lacked sadly in cooperation and general hockey craft.”

The Globe deemed the Germans “stubborn.” Rudi Ball and Gustav Jaenecke were their most dangerous players: “their speed was a revelation if their shooting was clumsy.”

The Canadians rested three of their regulars for that game, including Hack Simpson. Canada’s margin of victory was 5-0 this time out.

Gustav Janaecke, Germany’s dangerous forward.

pole position

En Rout: Canada beat Poland 9-0 on Sunday, February 7, 1932, on the way to winning a gold medal at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Two days later, the teams met again (above) and this time (as one observer wrote it) Canada “submerged” the Poles by a score of 10-0.

The hockey tournament at the 1932 Winter Olympics was an intimate affair, 90 years ago this month, with just four teams taking part. Joining the United States and Canada on the ice at Lake Placid, New York, were teams from Germany and Poland. Scouting for The Winnipeg Tribune just before the pucks plummeted in early February, Paul Warburg advised that “Poland has improved remarkably in hockey, but their likelihood of being a serious contender to either the Canadians or United States teams is small.”

And so it proved. The Poles opened their account with a pairs of losses, 2-1 to Germany and 4-1 to the hosts from the United States. They played an exhibition game next, borrowing a local American goaltender for a 6-2 loss to the Lake Placid Athletic Club.

The Winnipeg Hockey Club was wearing the maple leaf in ’32, and on February 7 the Tribune’s Ralph Allen was on hand to watch “the valiant but futile Polska outfit” show its stuff. It turned out “a nice, easy workout for the Canadians,” Allen reported, as the favourites “showed lots of speed and combination when they felt like uncovering it.”

Poland played cautiously, “adopting a packed defence whenever possible,” and for the first ten minutes the ’Pegs were duly stymied. Eventually they found their way to a 9-0 win. Allen thought they could have netted more in the third period, if they’d felt like it. Leading the way for the Canadians were Romeo Rivers, Walter Monson, and Hack Simpson, who scored a pair of goals each.

Wallace H. Ward was on hand in Lake Placid, reporting for the Canadian Press. “With no knowledge of the bodycheck,” he observed, “the Polish team was helpless when the white-sweatered Canadians were skirmishing in the defensive zone.”

The Poles dropped another game to the U.S. by a score of 5-0. They lost again to Germany, too, 4-1, in a game featuring flurries of high sticks. Somehow, Ralph Allen reported, only two players were injured, including Polish goaltender Josef Stogowski, who suffered “a bad gash under the eye from the stick of a teammate;” the game was paused for ten minutes while he was patched.

When the Poles faced Canada one last time two days after their first encounter, Winnipeg’s eventual gold medallists showed their restraint by keeping the score to 10-0. Every Canadian player but goaltender Stanley Wagner notched a goal on this outing, though they had to work for it. Ralph Allen:

Everything went along smoothly until it was nearly time to go home to supper, and someone discovered that Kenny Moore and Stoney Wise hadn’t had their turn at hitting the button. So everybody joined in and lent a helping hand to the victims of this shocking though unwitting neglect. Kenny and Stoney got their goals, and everybody was happy.

Ready For Action: Polish captain Wlodzimierz Krygier on the ice at Lake Placid in February of 1932.

 

 

twas a close squeeze

Big day at the Winter Olympics today … in 1932. February 6 was a Saturday at the III hibernal games, which took place in and around Lake Placid, New York, and saw the mushing of 12 teams over a gruelling 40.5-kilometre course for the first of two races that were organized to show of dog-sled racing as an Olympic demonstration sport. Saturday’s race was won by Emil St. Goddard and his seven dogs, from The Pas, Manitoba. Actually, they won Sunday’s race, too, to take the overall title, ahead of the famous Alaskan sledder Leonard Seppala.

Hockeywise, February 6 saw Canada’s team play its third game in three days, though only two of them actually counted in the tournament standings.

Here’s how that worked: on February 4, Canada played the U.S. at Lake Placid’s outdoor Stadium rink. With an eye to selling tickets, American organizers had slotted in a series of exhibition games throughout the Olympics, which is how Canada skated out on February 5 and lost 2-0 to the team from McGill University. McGill got both its goals from centre Nels Crutchfield, who went on to play a single season for the Montreal Canadiens before a skull fracture suffered in a car accident put an end to his hockey career in 1935. At Lake Placid, Canadian management attached no importance to the game. Next morning, February 6, Canada beat Germany 4-1.

It was the Winnipeg Hockey Club representing Canada at the 1932 Olympics, the reigning Allan Cup champions, and despite what you see above, they (a) wore regular shinpads and socks and (b) affected plain old red maple leaves on their sweaters, no exoskeleton needed.

While we’re looking, it’s hard to say what exactly might be going on with the puck in this imaginatively enhanced German photo-illustration of Canada’s February 4 meeting with the United States. (See the original photograph below.)  If the teams did indeed play the game batting about the lid of a teapot, it’s not something any of the newspapers noticed at the time. What we do know is that this was the opening outing of Canada’s least-dominant Olympics up to that point, even if they did — spoiler alert — end up grabbing gold.

Going into these Games, Canadians back home wondered whether the Winnipegs were worthy representatives. Could they get the job done? The team was considered weak, writes Andrew Podnieks in Canada’s Olympic Hockey Teams (1997), not to mention lacking in lustre. I don’t know that it’s fair to say that the country suffered a national sinking feeling as the team rode east out of Manitoba on Canadian National’s Continental Limited flyer, but neither am I ruling it out.

In this first meeting with the U.S., the Winnipegs may have been thrown off by the fact that the game was played outdoors. Goalie Bill Cockburn had sun glaring in his eyes, and the team in general was (said The Globe) “as nervous as an amateur theatrical troupe on ‘the big night.’” Also, did I mention that the rink was disconcertingly small?

Canada was not only “sluggish” for the first two periods, but “wobbly.” In the second, the Americans scooped up a wild Canadian pass in front of Cockburn and Doug Everett scored.

That woke up the Winnipeggers. Time to step it up. In the third, as The Globe told the tale, Franklin Farrell, the U.S. goaler, was on his knees most of the time batting away shots with his elbows and his hands.

Canad’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies, left winger Hack Simpson, finally beat him. In the 10-minute (non-sudden-death) overtime, despite taking two penalties, the Canadians prevailed when Vic Lindquist drove at the net, fell, collided with Farrell and, somehow, shoved the lid of the teapot into the net.

“Twas a close squeeze,” Globe sports editor Mike Rodden exhaled next morning.

Embed from Getty Images

 

just like a waving flag

Colour Guard: The XXIV Olympic Winter Games get underway today in Beijing with the parading of enbubbled, bemasked athletes, the lighting of flames, the flying of flags. Bearing Canadian colours alongside speedskater Charles Hamelin is 30-year-old hockey captain and superstar Marie-Philip Poulin. The subject of the 2018 biography pictured here, she scored gold-winning goals in the first two Olympics she played in, of course, in 2010 and 2014, and she captained Canada to a silver showing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. Canada’ 2022 campaign has already hit the ice: Poulin contributed an assist yesterday as she and her teammates opened the tournament with a 12-1 whomping of Switzerland.

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.”