Tag Archives: Montreal Maroons

Toe’s Crown Brand Photo

Toe Blake may have been a legendary coach of the Canadiens, but before that he was a player of course, from 1935 until 1948. Toe was even a teammate of Howie Morenz during the 1936 season.

This is one of my Crown Brand photos, (I only have a couple), which were issued between 1935 and 1940. Their size, at 7×8.5, makes them a bit bigger than Beehives, and these photos are nice. Maybe I’ll find a trunk full of them at a garage sale.

Toe wore number 18 in his first season, 1935-36, then went to #16 for the 1936-37 season, and wore number 6 after that until he retired. He was also a very fine player, racking up 235 goals and 297 assists for 527 points in 577 games. Toe also played 8 games for the Montreal Maroons in the 1934-35 season before joining the Canadiens.

I met Toe once, when I was about 9. It was the time, which I’ve mentioned before, when my dad corralled him outside the dressing room in Toronto and asked him if he would take my book into the room and get Doug Harvey to sign it, which Toe did. It never fails to amaze me that the great coach would make this gesture, and that my dad even had the balls to ask him, and it’s one of my favourite stories.

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.”

 

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.

The Old Man And The CH

My wife works at an old folks home and one day she noticed that an 80 year old fellow named Yvan had Habs coasters on his table in his room.  So she asked him if he was a Montreal Canadien fan and he said yes indeed, he’s been one all his life. The two of them chatted about the team that day, had great talks as the boys wove their way through the playoffs, and continue to do so now whenever they see each other.

Yvan says he can’t wait for the season to begin. 

This is a man who would have been a young boy when Morenz and Joliat were dazzling all concerned, the Montreal Maroons were alive and well, and young Maurice Richard was thinking about shaving.

From then to now, he’s never stopped loving his Habs.

And the other day, in a touching gesture, he tracked down my wife and gave her this lovely face cloth.

A Little Maroons Story While We Wait For Free Agent Stuff

That other Montreal hockey team, the Maroons, which folded in 1938, was as colourful a team as any, and it really is a shame they’re no longer with us. But in the 1930’s, the city of Montreal could only support one team, and so the Maroons bowed out.

They had some good stories, though, while they were in business.

Maroon defenceman Dunc Munro was given the largest three-year contract ever offered a player at that time, and in his contract, Munro demanded that he have the rights to print and distribute all the programs for Forum events. He told Frank Selke later that he netted fifty thousand dollars profit on the programs per season. Imagine $50,000 in the 1930’s?

The Canadiens and Maroons had such an intense rivalry that after one night when the Maroons beat the Canadiens, one of the team directors was so happy he gave Maroons’ star Hooley Smith a fully-equipped farm in Quebec.

Maroons players were big on playing the stock market, and they did really well with the help of fans who gave them tips. The stock market became so important to the players that at one practice, only two showed up because the rest were downtown counting their riches from a rising market.

Maroons players lived high and mighty with their new wealth until one day in 1929, the stock market crashed and everyone lost their shirts. But it turned out to be a good thing because after the shock had subsided, they settled down and became a fine and dangerous team after they began concentrating on sticks, not stocks.

A Darn Good Reason To Smoke If There Ever Was One

The first time I went to the Montreal Forum, I was about 13 and what really stood out for me, aside from the crest at centre ice and the magical red colour of the players’ sweaters, was the scoreboard that had British Consols cigarettes ads around it. So when I went back to Orillia afterwards, I got my hands on some British Consols and smoked them.

I mean, if British Consols are good enough for the Montreal Forum, then they’re darn sure good enough for me.

I saw this great photo recently of the Montreal Maroons from 1932-33 and quickly noticed that British Consols went way back with the Forum and hockey in Montreal. But not only am I not tempted to smoke them again, I don’t even know if you can buy them anymore.

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

He Painted The Horse Brown

Tommy Gorman was some kind of mover and shaker. He went from Ottawa Citizen sports editor to owner of the Senators, and later owned the Hamilton Tigers which became the New York Americans. He’d been a founding member of the NHL in 1917, and was also coach and general manager of both the Chicago Black Hawks and Montreal Maroons. And he was general manager of the Montreal Canadiens from 1940 to 1946.

Not only that, he was also manager of Olympic figure skater Barbara Ann Scott.

And on top of all that, he owned and ran thoroughbred tracks. At one point, he came across a really fast horse named Westy Hogan, painted him brown and changed his name to Little Boy. He then put the seemingly unknown horse in races which he won, and bilked track bookies out of a half million bucks.

There’s a lot of stories about Tommy Gorman. These are just a couple.

Le Club de Hockey Cleveland

Because the 1930’s were a time of the Great Depression and money was scarce, it was decided that two teams in Montreal just weren’t economically feasible. So the Montreal Maroons, winners of the Stanley Cup in 1926 and 1935, bowed out and folded after the 1938 season, leaving the Canadiens to carry on.

The entire thirties 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.  So you know what that means? It means we could be Leaf fans right now.

Sorry.

Nothing Like A Good Mask To Stop Pucks

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Yes I know, you’ve probably seen this picture before. But I thought, hey, what the heck, I’m not going to get run over by a bus or have a curse inflicted upon me if I show it. So I’m showing it.

With all the talk about Jacques Plante and him finally putting the mask on after taking an Andy Bathgate puck in the face, there had already been a mask-wearing goalie in the NHL. His name was Clint Benedict, and he also taken a puck in the face, his from Howie Morenz in 1930. Benedict, who played for the Montreal Maroons, had his nose broken and he donned this leather beauty for five games, the last of which he also took a puck square on the mask that was suppose to protect him, and his NHL career was ended.

If these two goalies, Plante and Benedict, would’ve been hit in the face by a shot from me, they probably wouldn’t have felt it and probably would never have bothered with any kind of face protection.

How Do You Score Three Freakin’ Goals In 21 Seconds?

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Hall of Famer Bill Mosienko pulled off the mind-boggling feat of scoring three goals in 21 seconds when he was playing for the Chicago Black Hawks in a game against the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952. Of course it’s a record. How could anyone ever score three faster goals than this?

In this 1961 Montreal Forum program, Mosienko describes to Moses – also sometimes known as Red Fisher, exactly how he did it.

“It all came about in the final game of the season for both clubs. We were out to win, sure; but it didn’t mean too much to either team as it wasn’t the Stanley Cup or even playoff berths which concerned us at the time. We were both out of it. It was just another game.”

“Then all of a sudden, the scoring came quick-like, bing, bing, bing. Just like that I got three goals in the space of 21 seconds.

“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.

The spree bettered the previous mark of three goals scored in one minute, 52 seconds set by Carl Liscombe of the Detroit Red Wings against the Hawks in 1938. It also bettered the team mark held by the Montreal Maroons – when three different players, Hooley Smith, Babe Seibert and Dave Totttier – scored in 24 seconds back in 1932.

I guess those are “the goals I’ll never forget.”

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