The adventurous Joseph “Joe” Wallace McCormick chased achievement with a principled determination that resulted in multiple hockey championships and an Olympic Silver. Unlike previous players discussed, Joe captained the Pittsburgh All-stars, who were the Navy’s biggest rivals in the National Amateur Hockey League (NAHL). But, Joe was not satisfied with playing top tier amateur hockey. He sought a career in hockey, and something else.
The middle child, Joe sprouted forth on August 12th, 1894 in Buckingham, Quebec. A small town near Ottawa, which is now incorporated into Gatineau. In 1914/15, Joe played for the Buckingham Seniors prior to a move to Cleveland. Joe did not stay long in Cleveland. By the 1915/16 season, Joe established himself in Pittsburgh and became well familiar with Roy Schooley. Like Chippie Gaw, Joe pursued higher education goals while playing hockey. He achieved that goal, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, after the 1920 Olympics. When Joe arrived in Pittsburgh, I doubt he believed a World War would interrupt those studies.
From 1915/16 until 1921/22 season, Joe stayed amateur and remained a student in Pittsburgh. During this time, Joe is at the height of his playing career. The Pittsburgh All-stars, or Yellow Jackets, exert dominance over the local hockey and, then, at the national level in the newly formed US Amateur Hockey Association. In 1918 , Joe and three others from the Pittsburgh All-stars join the U.S. Army. Although they never go farther east than Philadelphia, the Army lacks a top tier hockey team. After the war, he captained the 1920 Men’s US Olympic hockey team in Antwerp to a Silver medal. Despite these successes, Joe refused to be content.
Over the course of the next decade, Joe sought an elusive goal. First, he spent a season with the St. Paul Saints in Minnesota. Then, he traveled west. He played with the Edmonton Eskimos (Western Canada Hockey League) and the resurgent Portland Rosebuds (Western Hockey League). Both of these teams and leagues roiled in scandal and financial turmoil until collapse in 1926. On these teams, Joe still sought something that was not available to amateur hockey.
In 1926, Joe moved back to St. Paul to play for the Saints. By this time, the USAHA and amateur hockey collapsed from prominence in the United States. St. Paul and several other teams created a minor professional league, the American Hockey Association (AHA). Joe spent only one season with St. Paul before moving to the Kansas City Pla-mors. The AHA stirred controversy that impacted many players lives. In a challenge to the NHL, the AHA attempted to create a team in Buffalo. Frank Calder declared the AHA to be an unsanctioned league and barred their players from joining the NHL. While several AHA player applications were rejected, Joe possibly did not apply or try-out for an NHL team.
Joe retired after the 1931/32 season. By 1934, he and his wife moved to Sudbury, Ontario. Although Joe traveled and explored, he never left Buckingham until he moved to Sudbury. He lived in Pittsburgh. He became a U.S. citizen. He played hockey on the West Coast. But, he never left Buckingham. On the 1929 marriage certificate, he listed Buckingham as his place of residence, and not Kansas City. For all his adventures, I think he always wanted a single place to call home.
When it came to marriage, Joe refused to settle for less. Joe married Ann Margaret McArthur on November 6, 1929. Ann Margaret was the daughter of James Joseph McArthur, the famous Canadian explorer. Additionally, they faithfully practiced Catholicism. On the surface, he found someone just as daring yet rooted as himself. After moving to Sudbury, they had two children, D’arcy and Lawrence James. Joe passed away in 1958. While I’m sure that Joe settled, I’m not sure if Joe ever achieved that elusive goal.
Wed, Dec 31, 1924 – 14 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com
1. Joe McCormick, SIHR database. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=21779. (Note: Requires Paid Account.)
2. James Joseph McArthur. Wikipedia.
3. University of Pittsburgh. Wikipedia.
4. Multiple newspapers, (Nanaimo, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, etc.) courtesy of newspapers.com
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