Tag Archives: Montreal Maroons

Smoke Those Consols

The first time I went to the Montreal Forum I was about 13 or so, and what really stood out for me, aside from the logos at centre ice and the magical red colour of the players’ sweaters, was the scoreboard that had British Consols cigarettes ads around it.

I’m pretty sure that at some point after I got back to Orillia I got my hands on some British Consols and smoked them. Maybe it was a few years later. But anyway.

If British Consols were good enough for the Montreal Forum, they were good enough for me.

I was already smoking at my CYO dances by then, and sometimes smoked cigars behind my coaches’s backs on my baseball road trips when I was 12.

But I haven’t smoked in years. Maybe because there’s no ads on scoreboards anymore to sway me.

I saw this great photo recently of the Montreal Maroons from the early-’30s and quickly noticed that British Consols went way back with the Forum and hockey in Montreal.

 

Club de Cleveland

Because of the 1930s’ Great Depression, with money being as scarce as Habs goals, it was decided that having two teams in Montreal just wasn’t economically feasible. So the Montreal Maroons, winners of the Stanley Cup in 1926 and 1935, folded after the 1938 season, leaving the Canadiens to carry on.

The entire 1930s had been a struggle. In the early part of the decade, the Montreal Canadiens were doing so poorly both on the ice and at the box office that they were considering moving to Cleveland. (At least they could have kept the same crest.)

And to make matters worse, the Canadiens were even thinking about folding a couple of years after the Maroons had bit the dust, leaving Montreal with no NHL team at all. So you know what that means? It means we could be Leaf fans right now. Or Bruins fans. Or cricket fans.

Those Wild And Crazy Early Years

It’s listed as being 1929  and the Chicago Black Hawks on YouTube but I think it’s off by a year or two and it’s more likely 1930 or ’31. And it’s not the Chicago Black Hawks.

Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Ace Bailey, Aurele Joliat, Dit Clapper, Lester Patrick, and so many other all-time greats of the game roamed the ice back then, and 1930 was only a year after Wall Street crashed and women now being considered “Persons” under new Canadian law.

The Habs would win the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1930 after taking out the Boston Bruins in two games, with Howie Morenz netting the winner.

The NHL 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  features the AHA Chicago Shamrocks and possibly the St. Louis Flyers (or Duluth Hornets) and is a fascinating look at the boys back then.

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

Barn Burners

Are you feeling romantic and appreciative and looking to do something nice for your spouse?

You could do what I did. I took my wife to see the places where the Canadiens played before they made the Forum their home. It goes without saying that she was overcome with joy and appreciation.

Three rinks. And all three burned down.

First, the 3,200-seat Jubilee Arena in east-end Montreal, at the corner of St. Catherine and Malborough (now Rue Alphonse – D. Roy.)

The Canadiens played there during their first ever season, 1909-10, and again from 1917 until it burned down in 1919.

What the Jubilee looked like, inside and out –

Jubilee Arena

Jub.

And what it looks like now, from two angles –

Jubilee 1

Jubilee 2

From 1910 to 1918, the Canadiens played at the Montreal Arena (or Westmount Arena as it was also called), at the corner of St. Catherine and Wood, one block west of what would become the Forum.

The place held 4,000 people seated and another 6,000 standees, and burned down in 1918, forcing the Canadiens to move back to the Jubilee for a very short period.

The Montreal Wanderers played there also, and I kind of feel for this long-gone team. After being a powerhouse in the old ECAHA and NHA, they joined the NHL in 1918 and played just four games before their barn burned down. So they called it quits permanently.

What the Montreal Arena looked like then –

Westmount Arena

And what it looks like now –

Westmount 1

Westmount 2

And finally, the 6,000-seat Mount Royal Arena near the corner of Mount Royal and St. Urbain, where the Canadiens, after the Jubilee burned down, played from 1920 to 1926 . After that they would take residence (with the Maroons) in the Forum, which was built two years prior in 1924.

The Mount Royal Arena burned down in 2000.

What it looked like then –

Mount Royal Arena

And what it looks like now. A Provigo –

Mount Royal 1

 

While Waiting

Just a great game the other night in Boston, and of course we need more of the same from the boys on Saturday afternoon when the Lightning come to town.

Meanwhile, cleaning more stuff off my desktop.

A snapshot of Jacques Plante and his wife in the late 1970s; a vintage sweater box I noticed on a shelf at work, a neat cartoon, and a Forum program that the cartoon was in, from a Montreal Maroons/Leafs game.

Hope you don’t mind. You’re at a slightly unconventional site.

And anyway, I could go on and on about how this year’s squad can never take a night off, how they have to skate and drive hard to the net and have the puck more than the other team and give 140% like I do at work.

But I won’t, because it’s Friday. Which means it’s beer time at St. Hubert’s Chicken.

Plante

box

cartoon

Forum cover

On A Winter’s Night

It’s -22 in Montreal now, with the Weather Network adding that it feels like -30 with the wind chill.

And a big snowstorm is supposed to come in later today.

I’d like to thank Mother Nature, the weather gods, and my guardian angel for making this on a Saturday when I don’t have to drive to work. Or do anything except watch the Canadiens smarten up and play better in Long Island than they have for the past week or two.

And who knows, the boys might be snowed in if it gets bad here.

If you have a good four-wheel drive, would you mind running down and bringing some players back after the game? I guess we’ll need quite a few four-wheel drives. And it might be quite a drive.

Like this.

Back in 1929, the Boston Bruins team pulled out of the train station bound for Montreal with Eddie Shore running down the platform after getting stuck in a traffic. He missed the train but still thought he could make it anyway.

A rich friend loaned Shore his chauffeur and limo and they began heading north to Montreal at 11 pm in a huge snowstorm. The chauffeur was so nervous driving that he wouldn’t go faster than a couple of miles an hour. Shore eventually had enough and took the wheel. At one point the windshield wipers froze up and he had to remove some glass so he could see. They wore out two sets of tire chains and Shore had to walk a mile for help when he put the car in the ditch and had to rent a team of horses to pull it out.

Closer to Montreal Shore told the chauffeur to take the wheel and Shore had a quick nap. They finally made it to Montreal at 5 pm the following afternoon, met with Bruins GM Art Ross, and although Shore almost collapsed at one point, he insisted he play and Ross relented.

That night, almost 24 hours after heading out from Boston in  a snowstorm, Shore scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 Bruins win over the Maroons.

Life In The Fast Lane

As we wait for Friday night’s game in Columbus, I thought I’d tell you about one of the biggest chokes (and greatest comebacks) of all time, which happened to be in the final minute of a game.

If the Habs ever let this happen, I’m switching to cricket.

Learned from an old Forum program, it went like this, l

It was 1932 and the Montreal Maroons, desperately fighting for a playoff spot, were trailing 3-1 to the New York Rangers at the Forum with a minute left.

Fans were heading for the exits as the last minute of play began, when suddenly, a Ranger took a tripping penalty. Then with the Maroons on the power play, Bun Cook of the Rangers went to the box and the Maroons found themselves with a two-man advantage.

At that point, Maroons coach Sprague Cleghorn put five forwards on the ice, and at 19:12 of the third period, it became just a 3-2 lead for New York when Maroons forward Dave Trottier banged home a Jimmy Ward pass.

Don’t forget, players back then didn’t come out of the penalty box when a goal was scored. That rule was changed only when the powerhouse Canadiens of the late -1950s kept scoring and the league decided it wasn’t fair.

Anyway, the puck was faced off, Hooley Smith quickly got the puck over to Trottier, who quickly gave it back to Smith, and suddenly the game was tied.

It was 19:20 of the third.

Fans hurried back to their seats, the two Rangers in the penalty box must have felt pretty bad, and when the puck was once again dropped at centre ice, the Rangers took control but suddenly lost it. Trottier grabbed it, hurried down the left side, sent a feathery pass over to Jimmy Ward who worked it to Babe Siebert, who drilled it home to give the Maroons the lead and the win.

The time – 19:36.

In 24 seconds of the final minute, the Maroons scored three times, giving them a playoff spot and setting a record for fastest three goals scored by one team. The record didn’t last though. Boston scored three in 20 seconds in 1971.

And about another record, Bill Mosienko’s “three goals in twenty-one seconds”.

It’s hard to imagine, someone scoring three goals in twenty-one seconds, but Chicago’s Mosienko did it, with the Rangers again on the receiving end, and if you’d like to know how he did it, here’s how he described it to Red Fisher back in 1961. (Mosienko died in 1994).

“It was early in the third period and the play was deep in our own end when Gus Bodnar carried it out, skating fast, and flipped to me at centre ice. I cut low around the outside of the Rangers defense, steamed toward the net and let go fast. Lorne Anderson, the Rangers goalie, dived at me, but the puck was low to the left-hand corner and he missed it.”

The time was 6.09.

“The puck was faced off, and Bodnar got the draw to  me. Again I broke around the Rangers defence, was partially blocked, but managed to get away a sizzler, waist high, which eluded Anderson.The puck was past him before he was really set.”

The time: 6:20

“Referee Georges Gravel faced the puck, and again Bodnar relayed the puck to me. This time, I cut directly between the Rangers defence, wiggled my way clear and skippd in on Anderson to fire a 15-footer into the top right-hand corner This made it three in a row.”

The time: 6:30.

 

 

Game Day – Canes In Town

Like so many other teams, and there’s about six of them, the Carolina Hurricanes are hovering around the eighth and final playoff spot. So they’re going to want to win the game tonight at the Bell Centre.

Of course, wanting, and actually doing, are two different things.

Carolina has won just one game in their past seven, although the win happened on Saturday against the Jets, which means they’re on a one-game winning streak. This team is missing two goalies, Cam Ward and Dan Ellis, due to injuries, so we might expect coach Kirk Muller to possibly don the pads the way Lester Patrick, coach and general manager of the N.Y. Rangers, did in 1928 against the Montreal Maroons at the Forum.

Montreal also has injuries. Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz have concussions, and Henri Richard and Dickie Moore have arthritis.

Random Notes:

And how did the 44-year old Lester Patrick do against the Maroons? He allowed one goal in regulation time and his team won 2-1 in overtime. This was game two of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Rangers would go on to win it all in the five-game series.

Mind-blowing side note:

Lester Patrick, along with his brother Frank, lived for a while in the Slocan Valley, near Nelson B.C., where they played hockey and helped out at their dad’s sawmill. My daughter lives in the Slocan Valley, and I knew you’d be amazed by this incredible coincidence. And not only that, I once worked in a sawmill which was only about 700 miles from the Slocan Valley. Truly eerie stuff.

Lester

Triple Crown Brand

Although I have almost 70 Group 2 (1944-64) Habs Beehives, I only have three Crown Brand photos, but three’s better than none, I think.

The Howie Morenz Crown Brand is a mighty desirable one to have, although Toe Blake and Pit Lepine are no slouches either.  I’ve shown Lepine and Blake before, but this is the first time I’ve shown Morenz.

Crown Brand photos were produced by the Canada Starch Co. between 1935 and 1940, and they’re a hot item on the collectables market. I really don’t have a lot of information about them to pass on. Not only are there photos of Canadiens players but also the Montreal Maroons, Chicago Black Hawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the 1936 Canadian Olympic team, and I’m assuming the Rangers, Wings, Bruins, and New York Americans are also represented.

I don’t know exactly. Maybe if someone does, they could help me out here..