Imposing Morality through Sports: The Navy’s Physical Education Program, 1917-1918

Forward: The concepts from this paper support a fundamental question about the 1917/18 First Naval District’s Ice hockey team. Since starting on the National Amateur Hockey League (1917/18) project, I struggled describing the motivations of George V. Brown, Ralph Winsor, and the Boston team. Brown and Winsor have different goals than Cornelius Fellowes or Roy Schooley. But I couldn’t really explain it. The research conducted for the paper below answered some of those questions.

Whether exploring the Commission on Training Camp Activities from a sports or morality perspective, the organization imposed upper class values upon the drafted masses with the expectation of complete societal change. In 1917, Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, established a Commission on Training Camp Activities (CTCA) to provide for the moral and physical preparation of draftees[1]. The CTCA redefined military culture change in terms of Gilded Age pietist values built around physical activities, sex education, singing, and other cultivated entertainment opportunities. The CTCA’s athletics commissioner, Walter Camp, created a training regimen with a different moral outlook than the singular focus against sex and vice. Camp’s moral code promoted a complete man grounded in muscular Christianity. Subordinate to Camp, George Vincent Brown, from Boston and the First Naval District, shared Camp’s ethos. Amid the CTCA’s moral crusade, Brown focused on social advancement through amateur sports. As First Naval District’s athletic director, Brown acted consistently with Boston Brahmin values in addition to the shared concepts of muscular Christianity. Whereas Camp extolled these virtues, Brown acted on it. On behalf of the Charlestown Navy Yard’s hockey team, Brown interceded with the Navy and Boston University. Those who took advantage placed in developmental technologies, low key positions, or transferred into an advanced law degree. Brown changed individuals. Camp attempted individual change through mass instruction. The CTCA desired societal change through imposed values on individuals. While many CTAC initiatives remained, no moral lessons survived the 1920s.

Secretary of War Newton Baker, followed by Secretary Daniels, established the CTCA to address moral concerns developing in the U.S. armed forces. In July 1916, Secretary Baker sent Raymond Fosdick to investigate Army camps in the American Southwest. Fosdick identified “an ingrowing staleness all along the border[2].” He commented that soldiers frequented saloons and the brothels when not on duty. He noted that the soldiers needed reading materials, physical activities, and movie-houses. Upon returning to Washington D.C., Fosdick proposed to Baker the CTCA to eliminate liquor and vice while preparing the men for the physical demands of the frontline[3]. Fosdick specified the commission’s tasks as “[keeping] the camps and the surrounding neighborhoods clean and free from vicious influences” and “supply… social and recreational facilities to replace… the normal conditions of life[4].” In April 1917, Baker approved the commission with Fosdick as the chairman. Shortly afterwards, Daniels authorized a similar training camp commission for the Navy that would also be chaired by Fosdick[5].

The military’s authoritarian nature allowed Fosdick’s commissions to easily implement the moral reforms demanded by Gilded Age pietists. Gilded Age pietists tended to be Protestant nativists. They championed for prohibition, “Sunday blue laws”, and compulsory schooling. Combing secular and religion, they believed “the State was to take it upon itself to aid the weaker brethren by various crusading actions of compulsory morality, and thus to purge the world of sin[6].” With direct access to the Secretaries of War and the Navy, the CTCA implemented Service wide reform with a signature. Many reforms impacted the non-military communities surrounding the bases bypassing democratic processes to pass ordinances, statues, or laws. For example, Fosdick noted the elimination of 110 red-light districts across the nation with only thirty-five in a prohibited zone according to section 13 of the Selective Draft Act of May 18, 1917. He lauded the elimination of all red-light districts within five miles of any military facility[7]. Even operating within an authoritarian regime, the CTCA required structure to provide the necessary oversight of its activities.

The CTCA created six divisions to plan, monitor, and enforce proper behavior through controlled activities in the elimination of vice. For Fosdick, the Social Hygiene and Law Enforcement divisions with their focus on venereal disease and liquor formed the core of the CTCA’s mission[8]. To eliminate prostitution and alcohol, Fosdick minimized unstructured free time. To structure off duty time, the CTCA created divisions for Athletics, Camp Music, Education, and Entertainment. The Athletics division created training regimens around “war-like sports”, which included boxing, swimming along with baseball, basketball, hockey, and others[9]. Camp Music and Entertainment provided for spiritual and mental health. Education taught basic citizenship skills like reading and writing or offered French language instruction. Although not a formal division, the CTCA partnered with several external organizations like the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, the Jewish Welfare Board, The Young Women’s Christian Association, and the War Camp Community Service to preserve the “normal social relationship between the people and the men in training[10].” With the commission established, Fosdick identified Walter Camp to lead the Navy’s athletics division.

As the Navy athletics commissioner, Camp assumed responsibility for the physical activities of a moral program to eliminate vice and keep the Navy fit to fight. Before 1918, Camp became the authority on American football and organized sports in general. Building upon that football experience, he developed the “daily dozen” to standardize physical exercise across the Service[11]. The daily dozen consisted of twelve exercises targeting “every muscle of the body[12].” While the exercise movements originated from his football experiences, the Gospel of Fresh Air became the reason for existence.

Unlike his cohorts, Camp believed in the Gospel of Fresh Air more than the direct moralistic outcomes of the CTCA. In essence, the Gospel of Fresh Air claimed urbanization prevents proper attainment of physical development. To combat this situation, the Gospel argued outdoor sports must replace the struggles of early settlers[13]. For additional moral guidance, he authored an American Citizen’s Creed, which embodied the muscular Christianity approach to morality[14]. The creed stated:

I believe that a nation should be made up of people who individually possess clean, strong bodies and pure minds; who have respect for their own rights and the rights of others and possess the courage and strength to redress wrongs; and, finally, in whom self-consciousness is sufficiently powerful to preserve these qualities. I believe in education, patriotism, justice, and loyalty. I believe in civil and religious liberty and in freedom of thought and speech. I believe in chivalry that protects the weak and preserves veneration and love for parents, and in the physical strength that makes that chivalry effective. I believe in that clear thinking and straight speaking which conquers envy, slander, and fear. I believe in the trilogy of faith, hope, and charity, and in the dignity of labor; finally, I believe that through these and education true democracy may come to the world[15].  

The creed spoke in broad language of generally noble virtues contrasting with the singular purpose against vice and prostitution. The creed meant to impart the ideal, well-rounded man to the reader[16]. Unfortunately, the creed captured “a definition of masculinity drawn from a class-specific vision of Christianity[17].” In validation, Camp celebrated desk workers as unhappy middle-aged wrecks who were invigorated after playing golf[18]. Developed while the commissioner for Navy athletics, the creed and daily dozen exercises meant to transform stagnant city dwellers into active people.

The CTCA athletics program never intended to cultivate serious amateur competitors. The athletics program prepared men for combat and replaced the free time activities of prostitution and vice. As a preparatory for war, the athletics program supported low scale competition. For the Navy, activities focused on swimming, boxing, and even considered sailing. Fosdick reported less than half the men in the Navy could swim. By June 1918, swimming became a compulsory sport[19]. Beyond the Northeast, inter-base competition rarely occurred. In contrast, northeastern servicemembers, usually officers, regularly participated in regional and inter-base competitions in the two decades leading up to World War I. Servicemembers who participated in organized amateur events usually belonged to state militias. Although the CTCA brought training standardization, George Vincent Brown and the draft forced the athletics program to organize serious amateur competitions.

Through organized amateur sports, Brown built a dais to showcase America’s military athleticism while providing an incentive for servicemen to enjoy competitive, amateur sports. On the eve of becoming the First Naval District athletic director, Brown organized track and field events solely for military athletes. Although created to foster healthy, inter-unit rivalry, the organizers encouraged public attendance to understand military drill and support the troops[20]. After assuming the role of the First Naval District athletic director, Brown continued to organize and promote serious competitions. Brown shared core values with Camp, especially on the redemptive power of sports.

            Brown’s personal beliefs and unique background in sports management prepared him for leadership in the military’s new athletics program. Brown solidified his concepts of amateurism and sports management under the employment of Harvard’s athletic director, Professor Ira Nelson Hollis. Hollis strictly adhered to the tenet of amateurs never playing for money[21]. Additionally, amateurism intertwined with muscular Christianity to form the upper-class notions of a well-rounded gentlemen. Amateurism dictated who could play as much as how they played. With the commercialization of sport, the upper classes needed to differentiate themselves from the “masses[22].” Boston believed in the gospel of progress, which acted independent of amateurism. Boston elites viewed themselves as “agents of improvement” stemming from personal achievement. Boston elites behaved as patrons of culture and exemplars of republican simplicity[23]. Boston elitist values instructed the wealthy how to act. For Brown, amateur sport provided the vehicle to act. The combination of Boston elitist values and amateurism provided Brown a framework to absorb new experiences.  

Brown absorbed the important lessons in sports management in context of reality informed muscular Christanity. In 1904, Brown practiced amateur sports management as the Boston Athletic Association’s (B.A.A.) athletic director[24]. By 1906, Boston area sportswriters acknowledged his abilities in managing events[25]. When the Matthews Arena and associated indoor ice rink completed construction in 1910, Brown established B.A.A.’s amateur ice hockey team. A few years later, Brown worked to create an inter-city amateur hockey league with teams from New York City. Brown applied experience gained from organizing amateur sporting events towards developing serious competitions for drafted athletes.

In the decade prior to 1917, Brown gained important contacts through assuming sports leadership positions in multiple organizations. The New England Amateur Athletic Union elected him to a key position[26]. Through this position, he occasionally represented the Amateur Athletic Union. Additionally, he participated in the American Olympic Committee[27]. On the eve of war, Boston University hired Brown as their first athletic director. He maintained positions with Boston University and the B.A.A. while acting as the First Naval District athletic director. With this placement, Brown developed and implemented the district’s athletic program without interference.

Although Brown headed the First Naval District’s athletic program, LT Jesse K. Park, Jr. served as the Charlestown Navy Yard’s athletic director. In 1917, the Navy divided its shore commands into districts for defensive and management purposes. The First Naval District covered Boston and all New England except for Rhode Island. The Charlestown Navy Yard, located on Boston waterfront, was a subordinate command to the First Naval District[28]. Charlestown provided ship construction and repair facilities. Additionally, it housed the First Naval District’s Reserve pool. Rear Admiral Spencer Wood commanded the First Naval District with Brown as his civilian aid for athletics. Captain William Rees Rush commanded the Charlestown Navy Yard and subordinate to Wood. Charlestown retained day-to-day Reserve and recruit management since the First Naval District constituted a headquarters element. As a result, Charlestown selected LT Park as its first athletic director. LT Park managed fourteen Reserve ice hockey players in league battles from January 1918 until March 1918.

The fourteen ice hockey players feared little of receiving active-duty orders due to the excessive manpower reserve created by the draft. In anticipation of conflict, the Navy created the Reserve program in 1915. Originally only for enlisted veterans, the Navy broadened the program in 1916 to include non-prior service. However, the program remained only open for enlisted ranks. The Navy revamped the immature program as a coping mechanism for the rapid manpower increase. The Reserves acted as a pool of available manpower ready to be activated for duty. During America’s first year in the war, the Navy waited for craft to be built. While waiting, the draftees trained and participated in sport until Spring 1918. With the excessive manpower available to First Naval District operations, Brown and the Reservist athletes played the entire 1917/18 season with only one player called to active duty.

Even though LT Park publicly led the Charlestown Navy Yard ice hockey team, Brown drove the creation of a league to support his team. Brown took personal interest in hockey before the creation of Boston’s first indoor rink at the Matthew Arena. Brown picked only Americans to play on his hockey teams with two exceptions. Prior to 1917, Brown accepted Mickey Roach to play on B.A.A.’s hockey team. Roach learned hockey in the Boston high school system though being born and remaining true to Nova Scotia roots. Thomas Henry Howard became the second Canadian to play on a Brown team. In mid-January 1918, the Charlestown Navy Yard team lost a player. Brown borrowed Howard from the Second Naval District. Howard, the son of a Stanley Cup winner, learned to play in Brooklyn under his father. With a solid team that included three National Hockey Players, Brown coordinated with team owners in Pittsburgh, New York City, and Boston to form a league showing the best of American based amateur hockey. While Brown’s team achieved second, Brown met his goals.

While amateurism stated sport was its own reward, Brown’s Boston elitist values forced a sense of social responsibility to reward personal achievement. Whereas Walter Camp extolled the virtues of achievement through sport, Brown acted as an agent of improvement for athletes who played by the amateur rules. Brown’s actions separate him from Camp. Throughout 1918, Brown held leadership positions in the B.A.A., Boston University, and at the First Naval District headquarters. These positions provided Brown direct access to senior leadership like Rear Admiral Spencer Wood and Boston University President Lemuel Mulin. To reward the ice hockey players, Brown accommodated requests by leveraging his access. Successful requests remained within the bounds of service and Brown’s belief in Bostonian and amateur values. Brown acted on many requests received from the hockey team.

As First Naval District athletic director, Brown changed many lives and institutions. Brown helped John Jay O’hare to getting accepted and transferred into Boston University’s law program[29]. O’hare and Brown created the university’s permanent hockey program. At least five players received flight screening by LT Park. Park transitioned to flight candidate screening near the completion of hockey season in March 1918. Brown offered chances, but not guarantees. Park addressed a personal letter requesting a waiver for Thomas Howard. The Naval Reserve Flying Corps rejected the waiver request. Howard remained with the Fleet Mine Force[30]. Furthermore, the 1917/18 ice hockey team established the first hockey league that remained unchallenged until the National Hockey League’s appearance in 1925/26. Brown enriched lives by demonstrating and acting on Boston Brahmin values.

The CTCA undermined its own legacy. The CTCA established the foundation for every post exchange, base theater, and morale, welfare and recreation program. Current day military experienced cheap movies thanks to the CTCA. Finally, Service controlled standards for physical fitness started because the CTCA needed to replaced sex and alcohol. Yet, racist and classist policies raised questions, even in 1918. Furthermore, the CTCA represented the peak of Gilded Age piety. While the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition) passed in 1919, the Gilded age piety exerted peak power during America’s involvement in World War I. No one acts outside the context of his or her era, and this is especially true for those who tried to impose morality via authoritarian methods.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

 Camp, Walter. Keeping Fit All the Way, (Project Gutenberg, 2004), https://www.gutenberg.org/files/13574/13574-h/13574-h.htm.

Compiled service record, John Jay O’Hare, LDS/Yeoman, First Naval District, Series: Official Military Personnel Files, 1885 – 1998, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

Compiled service record, Thomas Howard, Seaman, USS Canandaigua, Series: Official Military Personnel Files, 1885 – 1998, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

Fosdick, Raymond B. Chronicle of a Generation; an Autobiography. New York: Harper, 1958.

“Keeping Our Fighters Fit for War and after” [on Recreational Programs and Activities at Army Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution]. Congressional Document, 1918.

Personnel of War and Navy Departments; Commissions on Training Camp Activities [on Organization and Activities; Including Recreational Programs and Activities at Military Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution and Alcohol]. Congressional Document, 1918.

Report of Chairman on Training Camp Activities to Secretary of War [on Organization of Recreation and Health Activities in Military Training Camps]. Congressional Document, 1917.

Secondary Sources

“Approval of Records Made” Boston Globe, September 22, 1914.

Buchanan, John G. “War Legislation against Alcoholic Liquor and Prostitution”, Journal of Criminal Law and & Criminology 9, no. 4 (1919): 520-29. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1668&context=jclc.

“Every Event Hard Fought” Boston Globe, February 11, 1906.

“George V. Brown Taken by Death” Boston Globe, October 18, 1937.

Goewey, Ed. “Walter Camp, Football Authority, Heads Novel Movement and Will Employ Gridiron Methods in Training ‘Eyes and Brains” of Service.” The Tampa Tribune, 24 February 1918.

Goodman, Paul, “Ethics and Enterprise: The Values of a Boston Elite, 1800-1860”, American Quarterly 18, no. 3 (Autumn, 1966): 437-451. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2710847

Loane, Mark. “Ken Donald and Muscular Christianity.” Australian health review 32, no. 2 (2008): 305–7.

“Must Receive Money” Boston Globe, March 3, 1902.

“New Features for July 4 Sports on the Common” Boston Globe, June 15, 1917.

Rothbard, Murray. The Progressive Era, ed. Patrick Newman (the Mises Institute, 2017), https://mises.org/library/progressive-era-0/html/c/620. 

“Stars Enter for Tryouts” Boston Globe, June 1, 1912.

Wakefield, Wanda Ellen. Playing to Win : Sports and the American Military, 1898-1945  Albany, NY: State University of the New York Press, 1997.


[1] Fosdick chaired both the Army and Navy CTACs. While few differences existed, the focus is on the Navy’s Commission except where noted.

[2] “Keeping Our Fighters Fit for War and after” [on Recreational Programs and Activities at Army Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution]. Congressional Document, 1918, 5.

[3] Ibid, 4.

[4] Report of Chairman on Training Camp Activities to Secretary of War [on Organization of Recreation and Health Activities in Military Training Camps]. Congressional Document, 1917, 3.

[5] Fosdick, Raymond B. Chronicle of a Generation; an Autobiography. New York: Harper, 1958, 143-144.

[6] Murray Rothbard, The Progressive Era, ed. Patrick Newman (the Mises Institute, 2017), https://mises.org/library/progressive-era-0/html/c/620. Rothbard defined the Progressive era from 1870 through 1940. Since Rothbard tied pietists to the 1890s, the Gilded Age (1877 ~ 1900) was used for clarity and accuracy.

[7] Report of Chairman on Training Camp Activities to Secretary of War [on Organization of Recreation and Health Activities in Military Training Camps]. Congressional Document, 1917, 11. Section 13 set the prohibited zone for brothels around military bases to five miles. See John G. Buchanan “War Legislation against Alcoholic Liquor and Prostitution”, Journal of Criminal Law and & Criminology 9, no. 4 (1919): 524. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1668&context=jclc.

[8] Report of Chairman on Training Camp Activities to Secretary of War [on Organization of Recreation and Health Activities in Military Training Camps]. Congressional Document, 1917, 5.

[9] Personnel of War and Navy Departments; Commissions on Training Camp Activities [on Organization and Activities; Including Recreational Programs and Activities at Military Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution and Alcohol]. Congressional Document, 1918, 11.

[10] Personnel of War and Navy Departments; Commissions on Training Camp Activities [on Organization and Activities; Including Recreational Programs and Activities at Military Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution and Alcohol]. Congressional Document, 1918, 31.

[11] Ed Goewey, “Walter Camp, Football Authority, Heads Novel Movement and Will Employ Gridiron Methods in Training ‘Eyes and Brains” of Service.” The Tampa Tribune, 24 February 1918, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/86396508/.

[12] Walter Camp, Keeping Fit All the Way, (Project Gutenberg, 2004), https://www.gutenberg.org/files/13574/13574-h/13574-h.htm. See section “A Shorthand Method”

[13] Ibid. See section “The Gospel of Fresh Air”

[14] An accurate definition of Muscular Christianity is “a system which relied upon sport to allow people to grow in a moral and spiritual way.”  See Mark Loane “Ken Donald and Muscular Christianity.” Australian health review 32, no. 2 (2008): 305. https://www.publish.csiro.au/ah/pdf/ah080305.

[15] Ibid.

[16] In this case, “man” means “males” and not humanity. See Wakefield Playing to Win, 11- 14.

[17] Wanda Ellen Wakefield, Playing to Win: Sports and the American Military, 1898 – 1945, (SUNY Press, 1997), 12. https://search.lib.asu.edu/permalink/01ASU_INST/pio0a/alma991000819439703841

[18] Camp. See section “The Gospel of Fresh Air.”

[19] Personnel of War and Navy Departments; Commissions on Training Camp Activities [on Organization and Activities; Including Recreational Programs and Activities at Military Training Facilities, and Control of Prostitution and Alcohol]. Congressional Document, 1918, 11.

[20] “New Features for July 4 Sports on the Common” Boston Globe, June 15, 1917.

[21] “Must Receive Money” Boston Globe, March 3, 1902.

[22] Matthew Llewellyn and Gleaves, John, The Rise and Fall of Olympic Amateurism, (Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 2016), 12-13.

[23] Paul Goodman “Ethics and Enterprise: The Values of a Boston Elite, 1800-1860”American Quarterly 18, no 3 (Autumn, 1966): 437.

[24] “George V. Brown Taken by Death” Boston Globe, October 18, 1937.

[25] “Every Event Hard Fought” Boston Globe, February 11, 1906.

[26] “Approval of Records Made” Boston Globe, September 22, 1914.

[27] “Stars Enter for Tryouts” Boston Globe, June 1, 1912.

[28] Charlestown Navy Yard also known by Boston Navy Yard and Boston Naval Shipyard. It reverted to Charlestown Navy Yard after becoming a historic site managed by the National Parks Service.

[29] Compiled service record, John Jay O’Hare, LDS/Yeoman, First Naval District, Series: Official Military Personnel Files, 1885 – 1998, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

[30] Compiled service record, Thomas Howard, Seaman, USS Canandaigua, Series: Official Military Personnel Files, 1885 – 1998, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007, National Archives, St. Louis, Missouri.

The Coliseum’s Impact

The Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum imported new industries centered around migrant workers whose economic impact was negligible. The Coliseum supported multiple sports teams including the Phoenix Suns (NBA) and the Phoenix Roadrunners (WHL and WHA). Though the Suns migrated players from across the United States, the Phoenix Roadrunners immigrated from Canada. The Suns’ 1968 inaugural roster included 18 American players. Besides being imported from Victoria, British Columbia, the Roadrunners 1967-68 inaugural roster included 28 Canadians.

From 1968 until 1977, The Roadrunners transitioned across leagues while maintaining a largely migrant workforce. From 1968 until 1974, they played in the Western Hockey League, a minor professional league, with affiliation to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1974, they switched to the NHL rival the World Hockey Association (WHA). In the WHA, the Roadrunners roster included 48 players with only 4 Finnish, 2 Americans, and 1 Dane. Of interest, two Finns, Pekka Rautakallio and Juhani Tamminen, shared their migration stories.

As migrant workers, Rautakallio and Tamminen are tied into the United States immigration laws and policies. The United States tracks two types of visas, immigrants and nonimmigrant. In the mid-70s, nonimmigrant visas, which includes temporary workers, exploded while immigrant visas remained fixed (Visa Office).

Visas Issued by Year

Latin American, usually Mexican, farm hands represent the public memory of migrant workers. These workers received H-2 visas especially after the Bracero program ended (ImmigrationHistory.org). However, most migrant workers, including hockey players, received H-1 visas. From 1974 until 1977, H-1 and H-2 visas represented less than 1% of all nonimmigrant visas. For the Roadrunners, the United States issued four temporary worker visas for the Finnish players. Even this represented a small percentage of temporary worker visas issued to Finland.

Fiscal YearCountryTemp Worker Visas
1974Finland31
1975Finland103
1976Finland128
1977Finland83

When the WHA floundered and merged with the NHL, Phoenix experienced little to no negative economic impact. Andrew Zimbalist identified four underlying reasons why. On the player and business side, he noted teams exert greater cultural impact than economic. Teams typically run a small front office full time. The rest are game day and only work four hours per game. Players rarely make permanent residence of their teams home barn. Most money gets expended in their home town or vacation spots. On the residents side, Zimbalist identified families usually run on fixed budgets. Thus, dollars spent at the rink are taken from other entertainment activities. Since the Memorial Coliseum was self-funded, budget gaps covered by public funding do not apply. Despite being self-funded and sustaining, the Coliseum and the players who called it home contributed little to Phoenix’s economic growth.

In 1962, the Arizona State Fair Commission proposed an exposition center, which became the Memorial Coliseum. Stanford Research Institute studied the development of a exposition center in 1960. The study estimated 237 days of use with a potential profit of $20,250 (Arizona State Fair Commission 1962) [1]. In 2016, the Arizona State Senate reviewed the Fair Commission for privatization. The enlisted research company identified the coliseum and fairgrounds generate 718 full-time jobs with $24.5 million in wages. Additionally, employee spending provided $3.4 million into the economy (Hanna 2016). While this sounds impressive, it was a fraction of Phoenix’s revenue.

In October 2007, Contemporary Economic Policy published an article reviewing research surrounding the economic impacts of professional sports teams and stadiums on their host communities. Most studies concluded “stadiums do not cause income or employment to grow (COATES 2007, 567) [2]. Coates identified flaws in studies supporting positive economic impact. For example, Baltimore’s M&T Stadium accounted for an aggregate income increase of $3 million dollars, which equated to approximately 0.02% of Baltimore’s revenue of $15 billion (568). The Arizona State Senate’s research exhibited the same misrepresentation as M&T Stadium’s impact.

The 1960 promise and the 2016 performance audit highlighted a Coliseum with great cultural significance while hoping for significant economic impact. The Coliseum brought in professional basketball and hockey sports teams. These added to the growth of Phoenix as it moved from 99th to 20th in size. Yet, neither the Coliseum nor the teams contributed significantly to Phoenix’s economic growth. Unlike many other stadiums and arenas, Arizona’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum remains a self-sufficient entity sustaining an ember of winter sports in the desert.

PART 1: Phoenix: Preparation for Migratory Sports
PART 3: Migration Patterns of Hockey Players: Pekka Rautakallio and Juhani Tamminen
PART 4: Pekka and Juhani: Their Migrant Story

END NOTES:

  1. 20,250USD is approximately 184,000USD in May 2021 dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, accessed June 2021.
  2. Most studies reviewed by Coates focused on publicly subsidized stadiums and arenas. In 2016, Xia Feng and Brad Humphreys examined property values near privately funded sports facilities. Feng and Humphreys agreed that all sports facilities provide “little to no significant positive tangible impacts”. However, their results suggested an intangible benefits to the local economy. Journal of Sports Economics 19(2), 2016.

Sources:
Arizona State Fair Commission “Proposed Arizona State Fairgrounds Exposition Center“, lasted accessed from AZlibrary.gov on June 13, 2021
Hanna, Grant, “Final report of the sunset review of the Arizona Exposition and State Fair” , lasted accessed from AZlibrary.gov on June 13, 2021
COATES, DENNIS. “STADIUMS AND ARENAS: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OR ECONOMIC REDISTRIBUTION?” Contemporary economic policy 25, no. 4 (2007): 565–577. https://doi-org.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00073.x
H-2 Guestworker Visa Program – Immigration History University of Texas at Austin, immigrationhistory.org, last accessed June 14, 2021.
HockeyDB “Phoenix Roadrunners 1967-68 roster and stats“, last accessed June 14, 2021.
RealGM “1968-69 Phoenix Suns Regular Season Roster“, last accessed June 14, 2021.
HockeyDB “Phoenix Roadrunners [WHA] all-time player list“, last accessed June 14, 2021.
Zimbalist, Andrew. 2013. Sports facilities and economic development. Government Finance Review 29, no. 4: 94-96, http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/trade-journals/sports-facilities-economic-development/docview/1431183991/se-2?accountid=4485.
United States. Visa Office. Report of the Visa Office. Washington: U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs; [For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.]. via HathiTrust last accessed June 14, 2021.
11 – Report of the Visa Office. 1965-1973. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
3 – Report of the Visa Office. 1967. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
3 – Report of the Visa Office. 1968. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
1 – Report of the Visa Office. 1974. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
9 – Report of the Visa Office. 1974-1976. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
1 – Report of the Visa Office. 1977. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
3 – Report of the Visa Office. 1978. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
3 – Report of the Visa Office. 1979. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library

Additional Reading:
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Bracero History Archive | About (braceroarchive.org)

Sports Immigration: Phoenix RoadRunners (WHA)

Since the late-19th century, sportspeople shared a common experience with migrant laborers, especially in the United States. Out of all sports, baseball shares the greatest link with immigration. In the early-20th century, immigrant fans saved baseball from extinction. Since then, baseball imported so many players that there is a cap. Yet, America would not have (modern) hockey if there was no immigration. From this American’s point of view, hockey is an immigrant’s game. Like many of the migrant laborers, the United States absorbed hockey into its fabric.

From Minnesota to Maine, hockey brought immigrants and immigrants brought hockey. Fishermen from Nova Scotia plying trade in Boston, like Mickey Roach’s family. Or, the frontier elite traveling to find personal success in New York City, like Tom Howard. Due to the cold northern climates, the migration of hockey and laborers make sense in the mid-Atlantic and mid-west states. However, hockey continued traveling south and so did the players and staff.

In the 1960s, Oklahoma business men brought hockey to the Sonoran Desert. They built the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at the Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. While they expected bands and basketball, they wanted hockey.

Before receiving the franchise for the RoadRunners, the Oklahoma businessmen brought teams from Tulsa to play in 1966. In 1967, the league awarded a franchise license. The owners moved the Victoria Maple Leafs from British Columbia to play in the desert.

Prior to the Immigration Act of 1990, sportspeople competed for the same visas as laborers. Despite teams and agents eased their journey for H-1 or H-2 visas, they are immigrants. As immigrants, they supported and added diversity to their communities. Many studied the relationship between baseball, immigration, and the value. However, many have not looked into how hockey changed their community. Whereas most baseball players remain, hockey players mainly return. Similar to early-20th Century European migrant laborers, they brought their American trunk home.

The Pekka and Juhani Series:
PART 1: Phoenix: Preparation for Migratory Sports
PART 2: The Coliseum’s Impact
PART 3: Migration Patterns of Hockey Players: Pekka Rautakallio and Juhani Tamminen
PART 4: Pekka and Juhani: Their Migrant Story

Immigrant Players Steal Bases And Basketballs, Not Jobs (forbes.com)
Extraordinary Ability and the English Premier League: The Immigration, Adjudication, and Place of Alien Athletes in American and English Society (valpo.edu) (Pages 545-549 or 6-10 of 67)
Round-Trip to America: the Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930 Mark Wyman

Shevlin vs. Glidden: A Brooklyn High School Hockey Rivalry

   Across the East River from Lower Manhattan, 1920s Brooklyn area high schools battled to dethrone Jamaica High School from nearly decade long rule in Boy’s ice hockey. Before NHL hockey settled into New York City, Brooklyn’s Public School hockey league experienced a brief revival under Vice-President Gustavus Kirby and Stanley Cup winning transplant from Winnipeg, Tom Howard.

   In the reinvigorated league, all top scorers were compared to Hubert, “Hubie” or “Hubey”, Baylis, captain of Jamaica’s 1925-26 team. In his senior season, Baylis scored 13 goals over 7 games. In the opening game, Baylis’ puck kissed the net four times against Boys High School on 17 December 1925. He provided more than a third of Jamaica’s 37 goals that season, which ensured they won the championship and the custom hockey sticks. In the 1927/28 season, two pucksters challenged Baylis’ 1.85 goals per game (gpg) achievement.

   Jamaica entrusted Harold Vincent Shevlin to maintain their hockey dominance. A second generation American of Irish and New York City Police Department (NYCPD) descent, Shevlin grew up in the family home in Jamaica, New York as the eighth child of elven. Shevlin’s hockey start was not as explosive as Baylis. Yet, Shevlin maintained consistency. In those first seven games, Shevlin scored 15 goals. Shevlin’s 2.14 gpg average outpaced Baylis. Shevlin eventually scored a four goal game which pushed him into the top scoring position. But, a rival puckster from Manual High School jostled with Shevlin for that position.

   Elwyn Augustus Glidden proved to be an excellent opponent to Shevlin. In the midst of the duel, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle provided insight into Glidden’s athletic talent.  Glidden transferred to Manual High School from Melrose, Massachusetts. Melrose High School players regularly made top marks in the tough Boston area high school league. Additionally, early American hockey pedigree, like Robert Paisley, and Clarence and Percy Wanamaker, learned the game on Melrose’s ice. Glidden’s four goal game came in the fifth against Franklin Lane. At the end of seven games, Glidden tallied 13 goals with a 1.85 gpg average. However, three games remained in the regular season.

At the end of six games, Glidden led the goal race by one, 12 to 11. After seven, Shevlin pushed forward to lead, 15 to 13. Suddenly, Shevlin’s scoring streak halted with just one goal in the final three games. Glidden maintained a steady pace with three goals in his final three games. At the end of the ten-game season, both tied with 16 goals apiece. Additionally, they fell short of Baylis’ 1.85 gpg with a 1.6 gpg. However, Jamaica advanced to the playoffs. Despite Glidden’s skill, Manual fell to a distant third behind Erasmus Hall. In the playoffs, Shevlin scored one goal in two games leaving the final tally 17 to 16.

  After their great exhibition on ice, they lived normal, unassuming lives. Glidden graduated from Manual the next year but did not play hockey. He bounced around the country until landing in Washington D.C. During WWII, Glidden worked for the Federal Works Progress Administration, the War Production Board, and the War Assets Administration. In 1947, he became an early employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. He died suddenly on assignment in Tokyo, Japan on 21 December 1948. Shevlin stayed true to family roots in Jamaica. He attended Ohio State University after graduating high school. He returned to join the NYCPD, 112th Precinct, Queens. Shevlin passed away in 1977. Just normal people doing extraordinary things.