Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Canada`s largest Hardware Retailers of the time.


Here we have another example of a sponsorship between a retailer and a local hockey team. But some businesses were so big they were able to form their own leagues and have individual teams formed from different departments, I will write about examples of these in a future blog.
          The more I research the more I have become aware of the vast numbers of leagues and teams that sprang up all across Canada and the US.
Unfortunately a large proportion will just be forgotten, that is why I am trying to collate as much information as I can about these teams before it`s too late.
          Like so many of these teams and leagues it seems not much was written about them and therefore near impossible to research further than a name, but hopefully with help from readers they may know, or know someone who knows some useful information. Maybe a family member played for a local team, or went to see them play many years ago.
The Wood Vallance ltd Hockey Club were champions of the Wholesale Hardware Hockey League on consecutive seasons 1910/11 and 1911/12.
Brief history of Wood Vallance & Leggat.
Andrew Wood fwas from Northern Ireland and was working in Toronto by 1846. By 1856 he was in Hamilton and running his own hardware business, three years into this he joined partnership with a Mathew Leggat.
In 1880 as the Canadian Pacific Railway branched out west, the company set up in Winnipeg.
1885 saw Wood and Leggat reorganize their business by bringing in two more special partners, William Valiance (manager at head office) and Wood`s eldest son William Augustus who had been with the firm since 1872.
As Wood Vallance they became the LARGEST Wholesale Hardware business in Canada.
573 Carrall St Wholesale Hardware 1918.
It`s practice was to order by the car load, for example, 10,000 keg`s of nails from the Ontario Rolling Mill`s Co, 200 ton`s of wire from the Ontario Lead and Barbwire Co, 40 ton`s of twine from the Brantford Cordage Co and 1 million bolt`s from the Ontario Bolt Co.
W. Cordova St 1917 Retail Premises.
These days the Army & Navy store occupies the space, although only the first few metres of the store are original construction, the remainder of the building having been rebuilt in the early 1970`s.
Once again I hope you enjoyed this blog, if you have any interesting material about these early amateur leagues please contact me.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Fraser Mills and the Savage Cup.

Here we have the New Westminster Fraser Mills Hockey Club of 1914.
They played in the NWSHL for two seasons from 1913-15 and were Savage cup Champions in 1914.
                   I would love to hear from anyone with more information about this team and the New Westminster Senior Hockey League as any records have been pretty sparse. I have found records of only one player that of George `Trooper` Box a right winger.
He had quite an  impressive 9 goals from only 5 games not a bad turnaround.
                    When I found this photograph my first thought was this was a sponsorship from a mill of sorts, but then found out that Fraser Mills is a Township sited on the northern shore of the Fraser river. It was the site of the first Sawmill opened in 1889 called the Ross McLaren Mill however it did close down soon after when co-founder James McLaren died.
                    It remained closed for many years until it was taken over by the Fraser river Sawmill.
As I have mentioned earlier, finding out about this league and the other teams involved has been pretty fruitless, hopefully with the help of yourselves, more information might be found.
                    The hockey team from Fraser Mills were no slouches taking back to New Westminster, the Savage Cup. The trophy was first presented in 1912/13 to the Vancouver Rowing club Hockey Team.
Victoria lumber merchant James M. Savage and the Canadian Colliers hockey club donated the cup. Ironically, Savage`s team would never win it.
The Savage Cup was awarded to the British Columbia Senior Hockey Champions and historically meant the winner would advance directly to the Allan Cup playoffs with the first playoff game against the Alberta champions.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Boston Shoe Trades Hockey Team 1920`s.

Here we have another amateur hockey team who fielded some influential players in their time.
           As you may have known I am fascinated in the Logo`s teams used and how they got to pick them. In a lot of cases a hockey teams name had been copied from the towns Football or Baseball team. Many others had worn the first signs of business advertising and sponsorship.
The Boston Shoe Trades Hockey Team have been difficult to research but certainly sound like they are part of the latter, but as always I would love to hear from anyone who has any useful information about this or any other amateur team in the US or Canada.
            They were known as the `Crescents` before changing to the `Shoe Trades`. They played in United States Amateur Hockey Association for three seasons 1919-22.
1920/21  USAHA         GROUP ONE         W         L         T

Boston AA                                                    6          0         0
Shoe Trades (Boston)                                   2          2         0
Quaker City (Philadelphia)                           1          4         0
St Nicholas Club ( NY)                                1          4          0

Boston Crescents 1910.

 Here we have the `Crescents` with number three, Raymond Nelson Skilton 1889-1961
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Raymie Skilton as a Shoe Trader 1921
Teams: Boston AA Unicorns (1912 and 1916)
             Sherbrooke Saints (1913)
            Boston Irish Americans (1914)
            Boston Arenas (1915 and 1917)
            Boston Navy Yard (1918)
            Boston Shoe Trades (1921 and 1922)
            Boston Vics (1923)
Military Service 1918/19.
He was an 1st team All-star in 1916 and 1917 (AAHL)
and in 1918 with the US Navy Hockey league.

Raymie Skilton offered the MONTREAL WANDERERS
just one dollar to play. As the NHL team knew of his credentials playing in the AAHL the past six seasons they offered him a ONE game contract. On 21st December 1917
Skilton played his one and only NHL game it ended in a 11-2 loss against the Mighty MONTREAL CANADIENS.
Other notable players who wore the BSTC logo are
Frank Allen `RED` Synott 1890-1945 he also played in the 1920 Olympics for the silver medal winning team the USA.

Gerry Geran Shoe Traders 1921

Another member of the USA silver medal Olympic squad and fellow member of the Shoe Trades 1921 squad was.
Gerry (Pierce) George `Duke` Geran 1896-1981.

Gerry Geran was the FIRST player from the United States to make the NHL.
Playing four of the six games with the MONTREAL WANDERERS in the NHL`s inaugural 1917/18 season, before their arena burned down and the team disbanded.
He also would play thirty three games for the BOSTON BRUINS.
In thirty seven career NHL games he scored 5 goals and 1 assist.

Thanks once again for reading, please don`t hesitate in contacting me with any useful information.
Kindest regards,

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My search for HELP

Anyone who has been reading my blog`s will hopefully realise how much I am fascinated in the history of the early amateur leagues and teams. I am particularly interested in the logos they wore on their sweaters.
This is the reason I ask people to share these blog`s, hoping they can reach people, especially in Canada/USA who may have information  about this fascinating time of early hockey.
                 Nearly every town and city in Canada and the US had at some point links with amateur hockey and the amount of teams must be phenomenal, but before these are forever forgotten about, I want to try and catalogue them. Hope you can help.

Fearman Hockey Team and Pork Chops!!!!!!!!!!!.

Here we have the `Fearmans Hockey Team from 1905.
             They were another of the many teams that were sponsored by local business men, as you can see their logo comes in the form of a home-made material `F`.
The Team were part of the Hamilton Wholesale Hockey League and were champions in 1905 hence the photograph.
The winning cup is displayed in front of the team captain and rover A.C.Hagar.
             Fearman`s  were an early Hamilton, Ontario meat packing concern. Started by Frederick William Fearman in the 1850`s with the production of pork products.

Frederick William Fearman: Ship steward, Hotel Manager, Merchant Meat-packer and Politician.
Born 1825 in Norfolk, England. The family moved to Hamilton, Ontario when he was eight.

In the spring of 1856 Frederick with very limited capital, set himself up as a commission merchant, and produce dealer curing pork on the side, by 1871 Fearman`s Pork were one of the most successful processing operations in the region. It is now part of the Sofina foods group.
                Fearman`s is Canada`s Oldest pork processor.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Anthes Furniture Co Hockey Team.

In the next number of blog`s I will concentrate on Hockey teams that have been sponsored/owned by individual companies, some will have full are part names emblazoned on their sweaters, some like this team photograph will show a more stylized logo.
               The Anthes Furniture Hockey Team had a popular style of logo during this time, the `A` of Anthes has wings.
This team photograph is from the Berlin Independent Hockey League in which they were champions in 1909. I am still researching this league but have found nothing so far, I would be extremely grateful if anybody could help me with this one.

1884: John S. Anthes purchased the Berlin novelty works and carried on business in his own name for a number of years in the manufacture of children's carriages and patent slat chairs.
1888: His factory was destroyed by fire but was immediately rebuilt on a much larger scale. He started specialising in making  high grade furniture.
1901: Went into amalgamation with sixteen other factories to form the Canada Furniture Manufacturers Ltd in which he became the director of the local factories.
1906: He resigned as director and went into partnership with J.C. Breithaupt under the name of the Anthes Furniture Co.
1920: Management of the company was taken over by Baetz Bros.
1965: The Anthes-Baetz Furniture Co was officially formed.
1967: Anthes-Baetz purchased by Farquharson-Gifford Ltd of Stratford, Ontario.
purchased by Princeville Furniture Inc of Princeville, Quebec.
1982: Anthes-Baetz merged with Hentschel Clocks Canada and became Hentschel-Baetz Ltd.

The Anthes Furniture name had been around for nearly a 100 years.

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Hockey Sweater Logo.

My love of hockey started many moons ago, I suppose my brother David is to blame, he used to take me to watch football first and Sunderland were our team, after the game we headed back into town to the leisure centre and watch some Ice-hockey.
The home team were the Crowtree Chiefs and one of my first games were against the Billingham Bombers it was a local derby and quite a feisty game I remember. Although I seemed to enjoy watching the Chiefs I definitely saw a big difference in quality when we visited our other local team the Durham Wasps (O`Conner, Brebant, Smith`s, Crapper etc....).
                    The best matchups had to be against the Whitley Warriors many a time we went to see a fight and a hockey game broke out. These were memorable times and i loved travelling around the country visiting other rinks. But my love for the game cranked up a gear when Channel 5 started televising live NHL games. I was in total awe of what I was seeing, so began my fascination for this breath taking sport. I had to find out more about all of the different uniforms, logos and nicknames.
                     I have read masses of books and magazines and will not be getting involved in where it began or who started this game. I am interested in the hockey logo and what it represents to the fans that follow it, hence the blog. I wanted to show people the interesting logos and try to find out about other ones that could end up lost through time.
Hopefully with my readers help I can gather enough information to fill a book perhaps. I know through my research their are some great works out their already ( SIHR Sweater museum, and logo database). I want to find out about the grass roots of hockey the amateur leagues, the manufacturers leagues. Their have been thousands and thousands of these teams all over Canada and the US and I would like to find out, and record as many as I can before they are lost forever.
So PLEASE PLEASE can you share my blog and if you or you know of anyone who can help in my quest please get in touch.
I will over time bring you some more interesting teams I have found so far.
Remember I am interested in the amateur, semi-pro league teams of the 1900`s to 1950`s.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


ROBERT CRAIG KNIEVEL. was born in 1938 in Butte, Montana. Him and his brother Nic were raised by their grandparents (fathers side) Emma and Ignatius who were second generation German-Americans.
Their parents divorced and left Montana straight after Nic was born.
                      Robert left school at 16 to work for Anaconda mining company, operating a diamond drill deep in the copper mines. Copper being the major industry in the Rocky mountain town of Butte. He was soon promoted to driving the huge earth moving vehicle but was soon fired when he did a `wheelie` with his monster truck after it had crashed into a main power line supplying electricity to the mining town, it knocked the electricity out of Butte for several hours.
Butte Bombers Star!!!!! centre.
Robert was a bit of a rebel, and after a police chase that he led on a motorcycle resulted in a crash and landed him in jail. He was in a cell next to a man known as `Awful Knofel` immediately Knievel got his nickname `Evil Knievel` from his name rhyming night jailer.
After a few years he did not want to be known as `Evil` so he changed it to `Evel` a name that stuck for the rest of his life.
Robert played for the Charlotte Checkers a minor-pro team in the Eastern Hockey League before he decided to start up his own team the `Butte Bombers` in 1959 and even convinced the Czech Olympic team to play a warm up game prior to the 1960 Olympics.
As a player he was a real show-off and had to be the life of the party all of the time, former players rated him 7 out of 10 but would not trust him as far as they could throw him. Tubie Johnson another colleague said he was a good athlete but was always getting into scrapes and was the biggest bullshitter in the world.
In September 1958 at nineteen years old Knievel became the most important figure in Butte hockey. He started his own semi-pro team the `Butte Bombers`. He was owner, coach and of course starting centre, quite a remarkable string of titles for a 19 year old.
Butte Bombers with Bob Knievel top row 3rd from right.
Start-up money came from his father and grandfather Ignatius and a car dealership. The local sports goods dealer Phil Judd provided Knievel with uniforms and equipment on credit, something he would probably regret later. Knievel offered players $50 per game, he put together an ambitious schedule which included semi-pro teams from the US and Canada, a few minor league juggernauts and some big name colleges from Minnesota and Michigan. Knievel was not a bad player but if he had passed the puck a bit more and not shot every time he got it, his play but have been a whole lot better. He always set himself up to be the star, putting himself on the ice for power plays, penalty killing and all the big moments as centre for the 1st line. Little self placed stories appeared in the local newspaper mentioning interest of him by other minor league teams but they all ended with how happy he was playing with the Bombers.
Knievel was hard to pin down especially when money was involved, the players soon found out that that $50 per game was a mirage but they kept playing as it was the only team around. Without the help of Phil Judd for giving Knievel credit for sticks and equipment they would of faded into oblivion but they managed to scrape by. In 1960 Robert Knievel secured the biggest coup of all when he persuaded the Czech Olympic hockey team to play an exhibition game prior to the upcoming Olympics. The game was played at the Butte Civic Arena on Feb 7th 1960, two thousand fans packed the Civic Centre. The game itself was a GOALFEST the Czechs pulverized the Bombers 22-3, the game was a rout of routs, the Butte goalie saved 69 shots. Tubie Johnson said the Czechs were just messing with us they were being kind it could have been 105-0 if they wanted.
                             Knievel came out during periods and pleaded for financial help from a microphone as assorted buckets were passed around the arena he mentioned that the Czech delegation was larger than he had expected and their expenses were much larger than he first had imagined.
The money was collected but allegedly none of it ever reached the Czechs or creditors. One thing for sure was that this was the end of the road for the Butte Bombers and Evel Knievels hockey career.
He was 21 years old retired from hockey, off to other interests and other projects.
"EVEL KNIEVEL" as we all knew him attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps and even attempting a canyon jump across Snake River Canyon(which failed) in a steam powered rocket called the Skycycle X-2. He still holds the Guinness Record for `Most broken bones in a lifetime` which is 37. He went through 15 major operations and spent nearly 3 years of his life in a hospital bed. Robert Knievel died of pulmonary disease in 2007 aged 69. This blog is just a snippet of his fascinating story.
 People of a certain age will certainly remember this toy that came out in the 70`s to represent the death defying skills of this man, and no doubt many a ramp was built out of anything you could find to try and recreate one of his jumps.
The Ideal Toy Company released the stunt cycle in 1973,and claimed between 1972 and 1977 that they sold more than $125 million worth of Knievel toys.
 Once again I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog.

Monday, 21 November 2016


Melville was named after Charles Melville Hays the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway general manager who drowned in the sinking of the Titanic back in 1912. The STORY has it that Charles had gathered together a group of potential investors who were all millionaires and interested in helping the growth of the Township. Melville became a City in 1960.
The TRUTH has it that in 1914/15 local hockey pioneer Goldie Smith put together a senior team that won the coveted Allan Cup, the Championship of Canadian Senior Hockey, then a challenge trophy monopolized by the likes of Winnipeg, Ottawa and the Eastern Universities. Grumblings ensued that Melville must be some town of Millionaires to be able to lure players of such calibre. Goldie Smiths thinking was Hey
if that's what they think let them think it.
So the name "MILLIONAIRES" stuck.
Goldie Smiths team defeated the Regina Victorias in the provincial finals in 1915 to win the Allan Cup.
The 1915 cup winning side included Dougald Sinclair "Speed" Moynes (bottom row 3rd from left) who was known to be one of the fastest skaters in hockey at that time.
Here we have a photo of the old Queen street arena built in 1909 it was burned partially in 1946 and totally in 1962.
Here we have the Melville Millionaires of 1923/24 season notice the Millionaires logo.Back row: Dalton Henderson, Merv Moore, W. Heywood, C. Harris and Napoleon Champagne. Front row: C. McCloy, Eddie The "Edmonton Express" Shore, Hilt McDonald, Raymond Mark Lamoureux, Jim Scott and the mascot Owen McDonald. Although this season they were classed as the senior champions of Saskatchewan but lost the Western Allan cup semi-final against the Bellevue Bulldogs.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Nipper the dog, HMV and Montreal hockey.

Here we have a photograph of the Nipper HMV hockey team but properly known by it`s original name BERLINER GRAMAPHONE hockey team from the Montreal Manufacturers League. This league was formed around 1910 and lasted till the turn of the second world war when clubs found it extremely difficult to field a team when players were called up.
                       I will do my next article on this league and some of the other teams involved. When this photograph was taken it is mentioned in it`s title that they were the Champions of the Manufacturers Hockey League 1920/21 but I am still researching this and many other amateur teams and would be delighted if anyone had any interesting information about these leagues, teams of the early 1900`s. I have found some articles in the Montreal Gazette and in the 1923 April 9th edition it mentions the league and the Berliner team being presented with the Crane Cup as champions of the four team league in which it concluded early in march.
The captain George Mallinson (back row third from left) expressed the pleasure of his teammates in being the First to have the club name inscribed on the trophy. The Manufacturers League games were played as double-headers at the Victoria Rink the same rink that saw the first ever recorded Ice-hockey game back in 1875. Picture below shows the Victoria Skating Rink during a game in 1893.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Les Costello and the " Flying Fathers ".

 Lester John Thomas Costello (1928-2002) was a Canadian hockey player turned catholic priest. He was born in South Porcupine, Ontario, Canada and as a lot of kids, loved his hockey, he played for the St Michael Majors of Toronto and won 2 Memorial cups with them in 1945 and 1947. His boyhood dreams came true when he was able to put on the maple leaf sweater and play for Toronto in the NHL.
Not only that, he was fortunate enough to play in the 1948 Stanley Cup team with the likes of Barilko. Kennedy, Apps, and Broda and help them sweep the Detroit Red Wings 4- 0 in the series and capture a second straight cup and the Maple Leafs seventh since 1917. They would go on to win it again in 1949 again sweeping Detroit four games to zip.
             Les retired from pro-hockey in 1950 to pursue his dreams to become a priest and was ordained in 1957. He took a parish in his home of Timmins, where he was widely respected for his fun loving jovial demeanour and his tireless work ethic.
             In 1963 Les and colleague Brian McKee founded the `Flying Fathers` a group of ice-skating catholic priests. They originally intended it to be a one-off charity event, but the Fathers became a phenomenon and regularly toured North America to raise money. As of 2005 the Flying Fathers had played 907 games winning 900 of them and raising over 4 million dollars.
                  In 1979 Les got lost for over twenty four hours whilst out on a winter camping trip and due to severe frostbite had to have several toes amputated. Unfortunately his skating ability was badly impaired but this did not stop him, for the loss of toes he stuffed rolled up socks in his skates. His camping incident attracted international media attention. He had coverage in The People magazine and also appeared on the TV show Real People. As a result of all of this media coverage Francis Ford Coppola the film director of such iconic films The Godfather and Apocalypse Now offered the Fathers a movie option. He brought Wayne Gretzky to Hollywood to audition for the role of Costello, but the film fell apart when Gretzky`s acting ability proved unable to carry a film.
                   For the 25th anniversary of Costello`s ordination in 1982 friends family and parishioners started a collection to buy Les a truck to help in his charity work, He subsequently sold the truck and used the money to buy furniture and food for the needy.
                   At a Flying Fathers game in 2002 Les Costello was hit by a puck he fell backwards onto the ice hitting his head, he was admitted to hospital the following day after still feeling unwell, he slipped into a coma and died a week later at the age of 74.
As his parish was unable to accommodate the expected followers they decided to hold his service in the Timmins McIntyre Arena. Thousands from all over the country are reputed to have been at his funeral.
In 2005 a foundation to raise funds for food banks, homeless shelters and other anti poverty charities in Northern Ontario was launched in Costello`s memory.
A major street in the city`s Schumacher neighbourhood was renamed Father Costello Drive and the hockey arena in the town of Cobalt, Ontario is named for Father Costello.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Chicago Baby Ruth`s and Butterfingers hockey teams.

Here we have the logo for the Chicago Baby Ruth hockey team, unfortunately like so many of these amateur hockey teams it is extremely difficult to find pictures showing their logos.
This was one of the main reasons my starting these blogs in the hope of getting information. So if you have anything that could be of interest please contact me.
Both the Baby Ruth and the Butterfinger teams played in the Chicago Amateur hockey association  during the 1930`s.
The teams must have been sponsored by the makers of the two candy bars Curtiss Candy.
                      The Curtiss Candy company was founded in 1916 by Otto Schnering near Chicago, Illinois. The first candy made was "Kandykake" later refashioned in 1921 as the log- shaped "Baby Ruth" their second confectionary item was the chocolate covered peanut butter crunch "Butterfinger" which was introduced in 1931.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Charlie Chaplin Ice-Hockey Team.

Here is my first blog so bare with me. I am a hockey nut from the UK and fell in love with hockey many moons ago.
                   The NHL fascinated me with all of their fancy logo`s on their jersey`s and the nicknames they used. I craved more and more and read books after books on the history of this wonderful game.
                 Over the last few years I have been researching and reading about the early days of hockey, the grass roots of hockey, the good old days of Company and Industrial leagues.
                  These leagues and their were hundreds of them sprung up everywhere and gave employees a chance to keep fit playing a sport they all loved, playing against other companies teams from the area.
Here we have the Charlie Chaplins of the Whitby Town League. Lost in the sands of time perhaps the reason they were named after the great man other than the fact he was so popular at the time. Mr Chaplin himself was a very keen and able roller hockey player who played for Karno alongside Stan Laurel.
I hope you enjoyed this first instalment and will read my future posts.
Happy Hockey Jeff.