"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
It was during the 1944 Stanley Cup final playoff series that Johnny Gottselig, the old stickhandling wizard and one-time coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, regaled us by relating some of the early bizarre history of the team.
"The goofiest year I ever spent with the Hawks was 1932," he said. "We had a new coach, a guy named Godfrey Matheson from Winnipeg, who got the job by writing Maj. Frederic McLaughlin, the owner of the Hawks, a letter.
"The first thing he said to us was: 'You are all adults. I will call you Mr. Gottselig, Mr. March and so on, and I want you to call me Mr. Matheson. I have appointed Mr. (Cy) Wentworth captain of the team and I want you to address him as Captain Wentworth.
"At our first practice, Matheson came out on the ice in street clothes, but he's wearing a pair of elbow pads and a pair of knee pads. Not under his clothes, over them. He looked weird.
"He puts a pail full of pucks on the ice and then gets down on his hands and knees. We were lined up behind him on both sides. He'd grab a puck and throw it out to one side and one of the players was supposed to pick it up at full speed and go down and take a shot on goal.
"Our goaltender was Charlie Gardiner, but he wouldn't let Charlie take part in the workouts. He said, 'Mr. Gardiner, you're too valuable to the team and I can't run the risk of injury.' So he buys one of those store dummies, puts a uniform on it and props it up in the net. That's what we were shooting at.
"Frock Lowrey thought he'd have a little fun with Mr. Matheson and when the coach was down on his knees tossing out those pucks, Frock pretended he missed the puck and tapped him on the back of the neck with his stick. He must have tapped him harder than he intended because the guy was knocked out and had to be carried off on a stretcher.
"'Carry on, men,' he says from the stretcher. 'Capt. Wentworth will be in charge until I'm able to resume.'
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Free Stanley: A campaign has been launched in favor of awarding the Stanley Cup to a non-NHL winner now that the league has closed up shop for the season. A recent column in the New York Times proposes the trophy be given to the American Hockey League champion.
The Cup predates the NHL, originally having been put up by Lord Stanley in 1892 as a prize for the best amateur team in Canada, and awarded numerous times as a challenge cup. Clint Benedict, above, was between the pipes for the old Ottawa Senators when they won it in 1923, four years before the Cup became exclusively a National Hockey League trophy.
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"One of the great rules of hockey is: On the Stanley Cup, all germs are healthy." -- George Vecsey
An essay chronicles the colorful uses to which the Stanley Cup has been put through the years by players who have drunk beer, doused cigars, and kept oysters in it, left it overnight in a frozen canal, taken it to a strip joint, and let a Kentucky Derby winner use it as a feedbag.
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If ever they get around to playing hockey again, the Ottawa Senators should bring back the sweaters of their Stanley Cup-winning forebears, the Ottawa Silver Seven.
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Now this is a hockey palace. Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula considers itself the birthplace of organized professional hockey, and an online museum of Copper Country hockey history has more ephemera than you can shake a stick at.