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Hockey 365

Hockey 365

Daily Stories from the Ice
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : hockey, history, trivia
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Excerpt

JANUARY 1
MILESTONE GOAL, 1961

While many people might have started 1961 off with a hangover, Boston’s Willie O’Ree began his new year with a milestone. On January 1, 1961, he scored his first career National Hockey League goal. His tally proved to be the game-winner as the cellar-dwelling Bruins toppled the first-place Canadiens by a score of 3-2. The significance of O’Ree’s goal, however, transcended the outcome on the scoresheet: it was the first NHL goal ever scored by a black player. O’Ree made his debut for Boston three years earlier, on January 18, 1958, becoming the first black man to play in an NHL game. Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, O’Ree almost didn’t make it to the NHL. During his junior hockey days with the Kitchener Canucks of the Ontario Hockey Association, O’Ree sustained a serious injury that left him blind in one eye. As a result, he not only had to compensate for his limited vision but also had to keep the injury a secret if he hoped to crack the league’s ranks.

Following his goal against the Canadiens, O’Ree would go on to play 33 more games for the Bruins, picking up three more goals along the way. In the off-season, he was traded to Montreal but never suited up for the club at the NHL level, instead playing for the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens in the Eastern Professional Hockey League before heading to the West Coast. O’Ree went on to play for nearly 16 years in the Western Hockey League, suiting up for teams such as the Los Angeles Blades and the San Diego Gulls. Although O’Ree’s time in the NHL was brief, he paved the way for other black hockey players to ascend to the NHL ranks in the decades that followed. Since retiring from professional hockey, O’Ree has been a tireless advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in the game and has served as the NHL’s Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity since 1998. Given his significant contributions to the sport, O’Ree finally received his long overdue call to the Hockey Hall of Fame on June 26, 2018.

JANUARY 2
UP IN FLAMES, 1918

The NHL’s inaugural campaign in 1917–18 was full of ups and downs, but no team fared worse than the Montreal Wanderers. Their season went up in flames. Literally. On January 2, 1918, Montreal’s Westmount Arena burned to the ground. According to historian J. Andrew Ross, the fire was caused by faulty wiring that ignited a blaze in a dressing room before it caused the boilers and ammonia tanks to explode. At the time, the facility was shared by both the Wanderers and the Canadiens, with both teams losing nearly $1,000 worth of equipment in the conflagration. Although the Canadiens were able to relocate to the city’s Jubilee Rink in the east end, thereby drawing upon the considerable support they enjoyed from the francophone community in that district, the Wanderers could find no suitable alternative. The team’s owner, Sam Lichtenhein, threatened to withdraw the club from play unless the NHL committed additional resources in the wake of the fire. The league refused. Although the league hoped Lichtenhein was blu?ng, it proceeded with plans for a three-club schedule should it be needed. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. With the Westmount Arena still smouldering, the Wanderers defaulted on their next match against Toronto.

In the end, the franchise lost its charter and, to pour salt on the wound, was fined $500 by the league. To help keep the league’s remaining three clubs above water for the remainder of the season, a revenue-sharing model was introduced. Although the Wanderers had previously won the Stanley Cup four times as members of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association and National Hockey Association, their brief NHL tenure was a disaster. The team finished with a record of 1-5-0 and never returned to the league.

JANUARY 3
BROTHER TO BROTHER … TO BROTHER, 1943

In a game against the Rangers on January 3, 1943, the Bentley brothers stole the show, with all three contributing to the Chicago Black Hawks’ first goal of the game. It was also the first goal of Reg Bentley’s career and, assisted by younger brothers Max and Doug, the first time in NHL history when all three points were awarded to the same family. Doug and Max were already stalwart players in Chicago, but the league was short on personnel because of the Second World War, so Reg had been called up just two days before the game. The marker proved to be Reg’s only National Hockey League goal, but with both brothers assisting, it couldn’t have been more special.

Reg played just six more games with the Black Hawks before putting his professional hockey career on hold to join the Canadian military. While serving in Calgary, however, he did get some ice time, suiting up for the Calgary Currie Army of the Calgary National Defence Hockey League. Following the conclusion of the Second World War, Bentley headed west to play for the New Westminster Royals of the Pacific Hockey League. In his second year with the club, he racked up 41 goals and 71 points. Meanwhile, in the NHL, Doug finished the season with the most goals and as the league’s scoring leader with 73 points, becoming the first Chicago player to win a regular-season scoring title. The following season, Doug found the back of the net 38 times to lead the league in goal-scoring for the second straight year. Although Doug would play nearly another decade for the Black Hawks, the Bentley brothers’ time in Chicago o?cially came to an end when Max was traded to the Maple Leafs in 1947.

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Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Trivia

Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Trivia

NHL Centennial Edition
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged : hockey, trivia
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Canada Quiz: 150 Edition

Canada Quiz: 150 Edition

How Much Do you Know About Canada?
edition:Paperback
tagged : trivia
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Now You Know Canada

Now You Know Canada

150 Years of Fascinating Facts
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Now You Know Absolutely Everything

Now You Know Absolutely Everything

Absolutely every Now You Know book in a single ebook
by Doug Lennox
illustrated by Catriona Wight
edition:eBook
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