Gumper Liked Solid Ground


I thought this little story about Gump Worsley from the book ‘Honoured Canadiens, Hockey Hall of Fame’ was cool enough to borrow.

Gump Worsley came to hate flying honestly. Back in 1949 when he was playing with the New York Rovers, the plane he was on ran into serious difficulties when one of the wings caught fire and they had to make an emergency landing. Ever after, he hated flying, but in the days of the Original Six and the minor pro leagues, trains were the usual method of travel, so he was safe for much of his career. Later, when he was with the Canadiens, another plane hit a large air pocket and the pilot had to turn off the engines for several seconds. The plane dropped swiftly and Worsley was in agony even though the plane continued its course safely.

On November 26, 1968, he arrived in Chicago after another horrible incident in the air, took a train back to Montreal, and retired. Two weeks later, he was back playing, but early the next year he left the Canadiens for good, sick of plane travel which, in the post-expansion years after 1967, was standard. He later played for Minnesota, but his fear of flying never abated. Ironically, one of his sons became a pilot in the Canadian Air Force.

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