Percy Weston Wanamaker played until he was exhausted. I can imagine him giving the quote “[War/hockey] is a young man’s game.” Percy’s achievements in high school hockey and beyond stand. In high school, he played two sports, hockey and football. After high school, he regularly played on two different hockey teams. When war came, he volunteered when others delayed. Always an active man, he needed age to gain the patience to complete college. When he transitioned to the work force, he walked away from the public to support his family.
Like many of his contemporaries, Percy Wanamaker played two sports at Melrose high school, hockey and football. Percy excelled in hockey. As a sophomore, he earned a spot on the first of the 1913/14 All Interscholastic Hockey Team. On the team, he played with Frank Downing, Robert Paisley and others. Percy captained the Melrose team in 1914/15. The Globe reported an impressive seven goals in a 26 – 0 blowout against Winchester H.S. in a 9 January, 1915 game. Before heading to college, Percy enrolled at the Andover Academy, a preparatory school. While playing hockey for Andover, he also played for the Boston Arenas.
In 1917, Percy volunteered with the American Ambulance Field Service for a 6-month duty in France. Assigned to Section Sanitaire (Etats-) Unis (S.S.U.) 27, Percy drove ambulances in Champagne sector during the Second Battle of the Aisne. When the U.S. Army assumed control of the ambulance field service, they refused to accept Percy. As a result, Percy returned to Boston in October. He stayed States-side long enough to play with the Boston Arenas for the 1917/18 USNAHL season. He found another ride over to France with the Battery C, 54th Coast Artillery Corps.
After getting back, Percy decided to finish his college degree and get back to playing hockey. First, he enrolled at Dartmouth for the 1919/20 academic year. In January 1920, the Dartmouth team elected Percy to captain. In 1920/21, Percy transferred to University of Pennsylvania.
While in Philadelphia, Percy played two seasons in the USAHA with the Quaker City team. For the 1921/22 season, Tom Howard coached Percy and Tom Jr. played defense. Percy’s playing style apparently clashed with Tom’s coaching. In January 1922, Percy left the team. Although not clear, Percy returned in February. Despite the news criers’ proclamation, Quaker City’s team work, or lack thereof, prevented them from having a chance for the Fellowes Challenge Cup. The team folded at the end of the 1921/22 season. Tom continued working as the hockey director for Brooklyn Public Schools. Tom Jr. left for California. Percy completed his degree in 1923. He hung up his skates and never looked back.
Some where in the middle of this, Percy married Florence. By 1930, they moved to Connecticut. They had three children, Burnice (1924), Harold (1926), and Thomas (1931). Out of all the children, Thomas received his father’s fire. In 1953, Thomas was in Japan with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The 187th RCT experienced punishment during 1951 and 1952. In Thomas might have seen action in the final days during the Battle of Kumsong. On his way to war, Thomas married Fae. When he returned, they moved to Seattle.
After Percy completed his degree in 1923, he worked for New York Telephone company. He worked there until he died on 1 October, 1954. Florence moved out to Seattle with Thomas, whose wife and child died in car accident in 1960. Florence passed on in 1980. As of this post (2019), Thomas is still alive. Quite possibly with that Wanamaker passion cooled, but not forgotten. Hopefully, he’s looking forward to the return of professional hockey to Seattle. As for Percy, war and hockey were a young man’s game. When he got his fill, he moved on.
1. Percy Wanamaker, SIHR player profile, https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=134095 (Note: Requires a paid account)
2. History of the American Field Service in France. https://cudl.colorado.edu/MediaManager/srvr?mediafile=MISC/UCBOULDERCB1-58-NA/1511/i73728925.pdf#. Spokane Chronicle, Sept 1, 1960, p. 6. Courtesy of newspapers.com
4. Dartmouth 1919/20 hockey stats. College Hockey News. https://www.collegehockeynews.com/schedules/team/Dartmouth/19/19191920
5. University of Pennsylvania Stats. College Hockey News. https://www.collegehockeynews.com/reports/teamHistory/Pennsylvania/417
10. The Boston Globe, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and others courtesy of newspapers.com
1. American Field Service: https://afs.org/archives/world-war-i-diaries/
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