Category Archives: Aurele Joliat

The Morenz Memorial Program

Howie Morenz passed away on March 8, 1937, and that fall, on November 2, the NHL All-Stars featuring Eddie Shore, Charlie Conacher, Busher Jackson and the gang played a Montreal Canadiens/Maroons combination with Aurele Joliat, Johnny Gagnon, Toe Blake and Jimmy Ward and the rest to raise money for the Morenz family.

Howie Morenz Jr., who was about 10, skated in the pre-game warmup and took shots on both goalies.

This is the program from that night.

morenz

009

The Bell Tour, Habs HOF, And Jerry

Walked 11 kilometers today through the streets of downtown Montreal, the third time I’ve done this. Although my beer gut doesn’t seem to be shrinking, and I’d like to know why.

Excuse me while I go to the fridge for a beer.

I began at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where I believe I stayed the first time I was in Montreal, when I was about 12. Although it seems swankier than I remember. Maybe it had a lobby facelift in the past 50 years. Maybe I just think I stayed there.

It’s also where John and Yoko staged their Bed-In for Peace, so of course I rode the elevator to the 17th floor so I could see the door.

QE

John and Yoko

I walked for blocks, sort of in a big circle, and I stopped in at the Bell Centre where I visited the Habs Hall of Fame. I loved it so much. It just wasn’t big enough, that’s all.

When I saw game-worn sweaters of Morenz, Joliat, Emile Bouchard, Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, Pocket Rocket, Lafleur, and others, I got quivers down my backbone.

When I saw Aurele Joliat’s little cap he wore while playing, I got the shakes down the kneebone.

Morenz

Joliat

Rocket's sweater

Harvey

Then I took a tour of the Bell Centre, which was another lucky thing. I didn’t know I’d be doing any of this when I approached the building. I was just kind of casing the joint and everything happened to be open.

And the weirdest thing happened during the tour.

Several years ago, a guy in San Jose named Jerry Chan emailed me and told me he grew up in Montreal and was a Habs fan when he was a kid, and from that email, we struck up a friendship, emailing back and forth often about hockey and Montreal and all kinds of good stuff. Then I didn’t hear from him for about a year.

Midway through the tour today, a  fellow from the group walked over and asked me if I had a blog. Then he asked my name. Then he said he was Jerry Chan! Imagine that! He said the only picture he’d seen of me was from a few years ago that I had posted from a time when I was in Russia, but for some reason, he figured it was me.

Real nice fellow, Jerry Chan. It was great to meet him after so many emails. Especially by accident like that.

pressbox

seats

This, of course, is the Canadiens’ dressing room, which, the tour guy said, is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. The other part I don’t remember. Something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.

dressing room

 

 

Bringing Back The Ode To Aurele

I don’t think it’s cheating, or laziness, to post something I’d put up several years ago if it’s special. Because not everyone who is reading my blog now was reading then. And it really is special.

It’s an old poem from the 1930s, when Aurele Joliat zig-zagged around the ice with lightning speed, sometimes with a toque on his head, creating magic with his friend and linemate Howie Morenz. Joliat was a hero and huge star in days of old, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of beers with him at the Prescott Hotel in Ottawa in the mid-1980s. I also drove him home afterwards.

The poem was studied in schools during the Dirty Thirties, and when I posted this the first time in early 2009, some folks of a certain age were delighted to see it.

Like these folks:

Carolyn Says:
April 6th, 2009

I have looked for this poem for years now, even writing Red Fisher to no avail. I remember reading it in school growing up in Lachine, and wanted to pass it on to my own son. Thanks!!

  • William H Skinner Says:
    September 28th, 2009 What a great poem. How could I have missed it for so many years. I grew up in Ottawa and met Joliat as a very young boy.
    In high school we studied a French Canadian doctor, William Henry Drummand 1857-1907 who wrote in the “broken english” used in the Joliat poem and being in Ottawa it is surprising that Monsieur Joliat was not in our studies. Drummond’s book of poems was entitled Habitant Poems and I am looking aty a copy as I write. Absolutely delightful.

Monsieur Joliat by Wilson MacDonald

Boston she ‘ave good ‘ockey team;
Dose Maple Leafs ees nice.
But Les Canadiens ees bes’
Dat hever skate de hice.

Morenz ‘e go lak’ one beeg storm;
Syl Mantha’s strong and fat.
Dere all ver’ good, but none ees quite
So good as Joliat.

I know heem well; ‘e ees ma frien’;
I doan know heem himsel’;
But I know man dat know a man
Who know heem very well.

Enfant! Dat Joliat ees full
Of hevery kind of treek.
He talk heem ‘ockey all de day
And sleep heem wit’ hees stick.

He’s small but ‘e ees bothersome
Lak’ ceender in de heye.
Maroons all yell: “Go get som’ Flit’
And keel dat leetle fly.”

Garcon ‘e’s slippery; oui, oui-
Lak’ leetle piece of soap.
I tink nex’ time I watch dat boy
I use a telescope.

He’s good on poke-heem-check, he is;
He’s better on attack.
He run against beeg Conacher
And trow heem on hees back.

He weegle jus’ lak’ fish-worm do
Wen eet ees on a hook;
An’ wen he pass de beeg defence
Dey have one seely look.

He weigh one hundred feefty pound.
Eef he were seex feet tall
He’d score one hundred goal so queek
Dere’d be no game at all.

Wen I am tired of travail-trop
I put on coat of coon
And go to see Canadiens
Mak’ meence-meat of Maroon.

When Joliat skate out I yell
Unteel I have a pain.
I trow my ‘at up in de hair
And shout, “Harrah,” again.

“Shut up, Pea Soup,” an Henglishman
Sarcastic say to me;
So I turn round to heem and yell,
“Shut up, you Cup of Tea.”

Dat was a ver’ exciting game;
De score it was a tie;
An’ den dat leetle Joliat
Get hanger een hees eye.

He tak’ a poock at hodder goal
An’ skate heem down so fas’
De rest of players seem dormir
As he was going pas’.

He was so queek he mak’ dem look
Jus lak’ a lot of clown.
An’ wen he shoot, de wind from her
Eet knock de hompire down.

Dat was de winning goal, hurrah;
De game she come to hend.
I yell, “Bravo for Joliat,
You hear he ees’ ma friend.”

De Henglishman he say, “Pardon,”
An’ he tak’ off hees hat.
“De Breetish Hempire steel ees safe
Wen men can shoot lak’ dat.”

An’ den he say, “Bravo,” as hard
As Henglishman can whoop.
“I tink to-night I’ll change from tea
To bally ole pea-soup.”

 

Hockey Inside/Out Makes My Day

Hockey Inside/Out has a fantastic eight minute clip of a 1932 Montreal-Toronto game, with Foster Hewitt doing the play-by-play and Howie Morenz showing why he was called the Babe Ruth of Hockey. Big Charlie Conacher, as smooth and as rugged as can be, was the Leaf marksman.

I’m tremendously grateful to see this. I love the old stuff with an unwavering passion, and this clip is magical. Thank you, Hockey Inside/Out gang.

The ad you see at the top is one I clipped from a 1940 newspaper I found. I’ll take two of your best 75 cent tickets please.

And happy Labour Day. I’m off to work shortly, because somebody has to.

 

Old-Time Hockey – And I Mean Old

1929 was the time of Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Ace Bailey, Aurele Joliat, Dit Clapper, Lester Patrick, and so many greats of the game.

It was a ten-team league at this time – Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, the Montreal Maroons, and the NY Americans in the Canadian Division, and Boston, the Rangers, the Detroit Cougars, Chicago, and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the American Division.

This minute and a half home video from 1929 features Chicago and Toronto, and is a fascinating little look at the good old hockey game from so long ago. (And back then, it was the Chicago Black Hawks, not the Chicago Blackhawks. The name was altered in the 1980’s.)

And the ice cleaners at the end of the clip are something to behold.

Must Have Been Tough To Be Both A Habs Fan And Revolutionist

Vladimir Lenin was not only a Russian revolutionist and often ruthless tyrant, but he was also a huge Habs fan as discovered recently when workers found artifacts hidden behind the walls of Lenin’s Tomb in Moscow’s Red Square.

Lenin lived until 1924, so would have picked up his Pravda newspaper on the steps outside his three-storey flat in downtown Petrograd and opened it to the sports page to catch up on the heroics of Morenz, Joliat, Cleghorn, and Vezina in the capitalistic and decadent west. He would have got the news late, so when Montreal beat the Calgary Tigers on March 25th, 1924 to win the Stanley Cup, Lenin wouldn’t hear about it for several weeks, well into April.

But I suppose it wouldn’t mattered a whole lot anyway because Vlad had been dead since January of that year. But you get the idea.

(Please note: I know you’re asking yourself right now just how I created this magic. Here’s all you do – take one of your Vladimir Lenin busts or statues that I’m sure you have laying around the house, then remove one Habs folded napkin from package, cut a hole where the neck is, and put on the Lenin bust. It’s that easy).

Stuff To Read If You’re Not At The Office Party

A few small things to rattle on about during this Friday evening while you’re probably out at the office party or buying widgets for the stocking or simply getting pissed at the local watering hole.

Number one is the ridiculous article written by Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald and sent over by Blue Bayou in London.

In Harris’ opening paragraph he writes, ” The Canadiens are a despicable and dirty little hockey team that loves to dish out nasty cheap shots, often from behind, often after the whistle — and shows not the slightest willingness to back up the stick-work by dropping the gloves.”

It’s just a nonsensical piece of crap, but it’s the comments at the end that really stand out. Habs fans rally and give it back to this guy in a creative and intelligent way. I’m very proud of these people who took the time to give this idiot the shots he deserves.

You can see this garbage and the rallying comments which follow Right here.

Next!

Danno has sent an interesting piece where a great goaltender in his own right, Chris Osgood, says it’s no wonder the Canadiens kept Carey Price. This article, written in much more of a professional manner than the Boston thing, can be seen here!

Next!

Recently I showed an ancient bottle of Capital Ale and I explained that it was given to me years ago by an elderly fellow in Ottawa. This old guy, my ex-wife’s uncle, used to tell me great stories of life in Ottawa way back when, including how he and his friends would sneak in through the windows of the long-gone Ottawa Auditorium and watch the original Ottawa Senators play if he and his pals didn’t get caught and kicked out. He told me he saw Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat play many times, and always for free.

I also remember him telling me how much more of a bloodbath hockey could be in those days and how the fans would fight in the stands and sometimes go after players.

Next!

My wife and I are invited to two Christmas parties and I’m happy to announce that both gatherings are being held when the Canadiens are on days off – Dec. 20th and 22nd.

Am I the luckiest guy or what?

Sink Your Teeth Into This One

Classic Auctions is in full swing http://www.classicauctions.net/ and as usual, my drool is soaking the keyboard as there’s just way too many things that I’d like to have but won’t because it seems God doesn’t want me to win the lottery.

Maurice Richard’s game-used stick when he scored his 321st goal during the 1950-51 season (lot 62) is something I wouldn’t mind having, along with lot 54 – a program from the 1937 Memorial game at the Forum to benefit Howie Morenz’s family, signed by Aurele Joliat, Toe Blake, and the rest of the ’37 Habs. And I’d also like to get my grubby little hands on that full ticket from game one of the 1972 Summit Series in Montreal (lot 632).

But I seem to have no desire whatsoever for lot 90 – Yvan Cournoyer’s false teeth, now sitting at $250 with two bids and 12 days left to go. I guess I’m not a false teeth enthusiast.

But that’s just me.

Me And Methuselah

I became 60 years old today. I know, it’s ridiculous. It’s way too old.

If this keeps up, I’ll catch Methuselah, who apparently lived until he was 969.

When I was born, on Oct. 4th, 1950, the Rocket had only played eight seasons with the Canadiens. He’d go on for another ten years after that. Dick Irvin was coaching the Habs when my mom gave birth to me, Gerry McNeil was the goaltender having replaced Bill Durnan, and it was three long years before Jean Beliveau put the sweater on.

I was born five years before the Richard Riot and nine years before Jacques Plante decided to wear a mask for the first time. I’ve been alive for 18 of the 24 Stanley Cups Montreal has won.

I’m really freaking old. But I’ve been told a few times that I have the passion of someone half my age.

World War ll had ended only five years before my birth. Hockey telecasts wouldn’t start until I was a two-year old, in 1952. I’m the same age as Tom Petty and Jay Leno, a year older than Guy Lafleur, and three years older than Bob Gainey.

But I want to confess something. I’m glad I’m this age and wouldn’t trade it for anything younger. I mean this. I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s, in great and exciting times, and among other things, watching the Original Six teams get it on. The first expansion didn’t happen until I was 17, and so my youth was seeing what many of you only read about. 

I ate dinner with the Leafs (I know, the Leafs) at their training camp in Peterborough when I was 13. I saw the Rocket play live, as well as Jacques Plante and Doug Harvey and the rest. At one game in Toronto, my dad corralled Toe Blake and had him go into the dressing and get Doug Harvey’s autograph for me.

I saw Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Tim Horton, Stan Mikita, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Esposito, Terry Sawchuk, Dickie Moore and all those old greats play, either live or on TV, and I was a 21 year bartender working in Sudbury when the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series was held.  And while in my 30’s I spent an evening drinking beer with an old man named Aurele Joliat.

When I was 13, the Beatles came to America for the first time and played the Ed Sullivan Show. And in the summer of 1966 when I was 15, I saw the Beatles live in Toronto.

I was a teenager when all that classic rock you know the words to was fresh and new. I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival held two weeks before Woodstock and saw a very similiar lineup as in Woodstock, and I was a 22 year old in the crowd at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in 1973 enjoying Led Zeppelin.

You’re doing your own thing now, seeing your own players you’ll tell your grandkids about, and singing along to your own music. I say savour everything, because believe me, from the bottom of my heart, you’ll be 60 before you know it.

But don’t despair. Getting older isn’t a bad thing at all. You’ll just have to trust me on this.