The NAHL: Michael “Mickey” Richard Roach

   Michael “Mickey” Richard Roach cultivated his natural hockey talent resulting in the most successful professional hockey career out of all the USNAHL players. Roach played for 21 seasons. Following that, he coached nearly 6 seasons of professional hockey and another 11 seasons of coaching Senior Amateur hockey. Roach’s coaching career focused on cultivating the talent in others rather than himself.

   Born on 1 May 1895, Mickey Roach, a second-generation Nova Scotian, left the Maritimes for Boston in time to start high school. He attended Boston English High School with tailored curriculum towards the trades. Even as early as the 1912/13 season, he played on two teams, English H.S. and the Boston Arena intramural Skate Boys. Listed as Roche, the Boston Globe named him to their All Interscholastic second team for hockey. For the 1913/14 season, Roach moved on from the Skate Boys to the Pilgrim Athletic Association team while still playing for English H.S. Once again, the Boson Globe named Roach, as “Roache”, to its Interscholastic team. But, placed him in the first team along with Frank Downing, Robert Paisley, and Percy Wanamaker. Roach’s skill and determination to develop that skill were evident.

   After graduating, Roach played on the Boston Arenas for two seasons, but was driven for more. Much like the English and Huntington school teams, the Boston Arenas were limited to local play. The Boston Athletic Association team played in the developing intercity amateur hockey league. Despite his preeminence in Boston hockey circles, he moved to New York City in time for the 1916/17 season.

   For the next two years, Roach played in the greater New York City league. First, he played with the Crescent during the 1916/17 season. In a four-team intercity league, the Crescents lost in the final match to the Boston Arenas. In 1917, World War I finally caught up to the United States. Amateur hockey greatly changed resulting in the creation of the U.S. National Amateur Hockey League (USNAHL). Roach, a clerk for the BonBright investment bank, played on Cornelius Fellowes’ New York Wanderers. In November 1918, the war also finally caught with Roach. He became a Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) cadet and traveled back to Toronto to start training.

   Always looking for hockey, Roach picked up the uniform and picked up the stick. On 14 December 1918, the R.A.F. played one exhibition game against the Dentals in Ontario Hockey Association’s (O.H.A.) Senior A division. The R.A.F. bowed out of the season. Roach and Thomas “Flash” McCarthy, who joined him from New York, joined the Hamilton Tigers for the remainder of the season. This move started Roach’s NHL playing career.

   Starting with the St. Pats in 1920, he played seven seasons in the newly formed NHL. He moved from the Toronto St. Pats to the Hamilton Tigers, who elevated from the amateur ranks. For the 1924/25, Roach moved with the Tigers. Bill Dwyer renamed the Tigers to the New York Americans, referred as the Amerks, and moved them to New York City. As a result, the Amerks and Roach were the first hockey team to play in Tex Rickard’s Madison Square Garden in December 1925. While Roach finished his NHL career in New York City, he continued to play on for three more seasons in the minor leagues.

    While playing with the St. Pats, Roach married Elsie Alida Tobey, an Ontario native, in March 1920. Even though Roach played in Ontario, he established his family back in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In April 1921, his first son, Clifford Roach, was born there. However, not all of his four children could claim a Nova Scotia start. On 8 November 1922, their second son, Warren, originated in Boston. Finally, Ontario was home to his two daughters, Elsie and Eleanor. Despite the numerous locales for key life events, they called Nova Scotia home.

   Roach’s last season as player was the 1929/30 season with the Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons participated in the International Hockey League after the dissolution of the Canadian Professional Hockey League. In 1930, Roach accepted a manager/coach position with the Buffalo Bisons. In this new role, he started developing players for the NHL. From 1930 until 1936, Roach coached the Bisons, Syracuse Stars and, very briefly, the Rochester Cardinals. Roach left as a consistent contender, but never a winner, among team financial troubles and politics.

   Retiring from professional coaching, he refused to let hockey go. Initially, he attempted to organize a Senior A team for O.H.A. Eventually, he received an appointment to coach the Niagara Falls Brights in Dec 1938. In Feb 1939, he resigned this position and moved back to Nova Scotia.

   The Cape Breton league challenged for the Allan Cup, which was familiar ground for Roach. For the 1939/40 season, he sought to win with the North Sydney Victorias. At the time, Maritime Senior A hockey teams desired to claim the Allan Cup from the Halifax Wolverines. In 1941/42, he coached the Sydney Millionaires on a strong Cup challenge but fell short.

   As war crept back in Roach’s life, he switched to coaching the Navy teams in the Cape Breton League. At the time, Cliff was playing his top game. Meanwhile, Warren joined the US Navy. By September 1953, Mickey Roach retired from hockey and settled into his Customs job. Although a few of his teams made strong challenges, he never coached an Allan Cup winning team.

   With the exception of the 1918/19 Hamilton Tigers, Mickey Roach finished second more times than not. Whether as a player or coach, most teams were strong contenders with his participation. In recognition of his playing skills, the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame honored him in their initial inductions. In addition to the playing and coaching careers, he raised two sons in the hockey tradition. Cliff played briefly for the Providence Reds in the AHL. As for his daughters, Elsie Corinne died shortly after birth and Eleanor probably lived a quiet life. In 1977, Mickey Roach’s passage received more attention in the States than in Canada. It is assumed his wife, Elsie, passed away some time after. When compared to Herb Drury, Frenchy LaCroix and other USNAHL players, Mickey Roach was the most successful hockeyist.

NOTE: Misspellings of his last name, especially in the Boston Globe, are Roache, Roark, and Roche. Elsie’s middle name also changes greatly from Alida, Ileeda, and Illita in government records.

Additional reading:
https://blog.thebackcheck.com/2016/05/11/mickey-roach/

The NAHL: Alphonse Albert “Frenchy” LaCroix

   When Alphonse Albert “Frenchy” LaCroix decided to grow up, he walked away from hockey for the forests of Maine. From 1914 until 1947, LaCroix rarely missed playing in a season of hockey. His youthful face and few public comments hinted at a jovial, prankster personality.  Yet, his accomplishments demonstrated a rare skill on the ice.

   Although born in Newton, Massachusetts, LaCroix’s parents immigrated from Quebec, Canada. Young Lacroix would be baptized as Alphonsum Aldine Lacroix on 22 October 1897 at Our Lady Help of Christians, a Catholic parish. His Father was one of the more well-known French residents in Newton. Thus, the Young Lacroix earned the “Frenchy” or “Frenchie” nickname. He still performed as the top goalie for three years at Newton High School. In 1915, 1916, and 1917, The Boston Daily Globe named him to their interscholastic first team. America had just entered into World War I when LaCroix graduated from high school.

   In December 1917, LaCroix enlisted in the Navy Reserve. George V. Brown, the First Naval District Athletic Director, immediately pulled LaCroix onto his hockey team. From there, LaCroix made a lifelong ally. After the war, LaCroix played for Brown’s Boston Athletic Association Unicorns.  Additionally, he played the goalie for the 1924 U.S. Men’s Silver-medal winning team. However, he continued to achieve greater heights.

   In November 1925, he stepped into the Montreal Canadiens goal for an ailing Georges Vézina. Vezina suffered from tuberculosis and could not finish the game. LaCroix manned the net for two periods and another four games until the Canadiens signed Herb Rheaume. Afterwards, Lacroix remained as the Canadiens back-up goalie until the end of the 1926/27 season. The five games between 28 November and 15 December 1925 would be his only NHL games.

Although some accounts stated was an NHL emergency goalie, he was always retained by Les Canadiens, and used at Leo Dandurand’s discretion. In January 1926, they called for him to substitute for the Ottawa Senators’ goalie, who got knocked out. After a short rest, Connell decided to stick out the game. LaCroix did not play. In February, the Pittsburgh Pirates requested Lacroix’s services against the Canadiens on 23 February. Dandurand denied the request citing bad precedent. However, it is just as likely Dandurand did not want to face a good goalie. Pittsburgh won the match with their coach, Odie Cleghorn, in the net.

He played in three exhibition games. First, a 4 February 1926 game against the Montreal Yannigans, a Maroons feeder team. Second, He played for the Providence Reds on 8 April 1927. At the end of the 2nd period, the puck struck the Reds’ goalie square in the chin.  His final game with the Canadiens was a post-season match against the Providence Reds on 12 April 1927. The following season, Lacroix found himself with the Reds.

   Stating with the 1927/28 season, Lacroix served the rest of his time in minor or senior amateur leagues. From 1927/28 until 1929/30, he bounced between the Reds and the Lewiston (Maine) St. Doms. At the start of the 1930/31 season, the Boston Tigers attempted to use Lacroix to salvage their standings. He was let go after just four games. The final time he would be paid-to-play.

   During the 30s, he assisted George Owen Jr. in coaching the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineers. When World War II curtailed hockey at MIT, he co-established a team for an amateur industrial league with Owen. In the down time, he worked for an insurance broker. After the war, Lacroix packed up his skates and moved back to Lewiston.

   On ice accomplishments hid private hardships. In October 1912, LaCroix’s dad died leaving his mom and three young sons. The oldest, Elyre, was about 7. Just after WWI, He married Anna Champagne in 1920. They had two children, Janet/Jeanette and Armand. Oddly, Armand disappeared from public record by 1940. By 1948, they divorced. Anna and Janet remained in Massachusetts while he left for Maine. There, he married Eva Fournier, née Malo. They had a daughter, Suzanne. Finally, he decided to settle down. Another private man with a public face. He passed away on 12 April 1973 from cancer. Eva joined him in rest in 2009. He is survived by Suzanne.

   Frenchy Lacroix was the first American-born NHL goalie and, potentially the third American-born in the NHL. Across 13 seasons of play, he attained a 2.18 goals against average (GAA) in the regular season. Prior to his season with the Montreal Canadiens, he maintained a 1.82 GAA over 7 seasons. Plus, he won the silver with the 1924 U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice hockey team. His youthfulness continued to show through until the late-40s by being an assistant coach and team organizer for a war time industrial league. After the war, the game finally surpassed him. He headed to Maine’s woods to settle down.

NOTE: Over the years, LaCroix’s name took many variations. “LaCroix” was the definitive variant. However, La Croix and Lacroix were also seen. The later oft seen in newspaper articles. Rarely, his middle name, “Albert” appeared. On his WWII draft card, the registrar wrote “Aldéi” for his middle name.

THE NAHL: LT Jesse K. Park Jr.

Jesse K. Park Jr. rose from obscurity helped by one man, George V. Brown. Little is known of Park’s background or future after World War I. What is known is that he was in the right place at the right time for the Navy Yard hockey team. I doubt if history will ever be able to discern if he genuinely wanted to help the Navy Yard team or was a pawn of George Brown.

Born in 1886, Jesse K. Park Jr’s family moved from New Haven, Connecticut to Newton, Massachusetts by 1910. His skill in high school sports did not capture the imagination of newspapers of the time. Thus, his sudden rise in hockey appears to come from nowhere.

In the pre-war years, little exists of Park’s college or young adult years. A rare mention exists of a family vacation to New Haven, Connecticut in 1908. He clearly went to college, but where was unknown. When the war started, Park commissioned in the National Naval Volunteers. By December 1917, he attained the rank of Lt. J.G. and was in charge of aviation examinations. He screened potential applicants for the US Navy’s new aviation branch.

I can imagine George Brown approaching Park with the offer of a lifetime. As every good salesman knows, fame is everything and free publicity is worth dollars. Park helped several of the Navy hockey team members to become Naval and Marine Corps aviators. In return, he got his free publicity.

After the war, Park seemed to fade away to the ordinary life. Little is known of Park after the war. He ran an automobile dealership at least through the 20s. He married Katherine McGillen in 1923. They didn’t seem to have children. In August 1965, Catherine passed away. Park passed away in February 1975. How they lived, survived, and loved has been lost. Still, his contribution to those that played on the Navy Yard team cannot be overlooked.

Sources:
Newton (MA) Newsletter 1908
Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy
Jesse K. Park Jr. Obit
Katherine M. Park Obit

The NAHL: Dr. Francis Charles “DINK” Madden

While Dr. Eddie Nagle was the dentist who played hockey, Dr. Francis Charles “Dink” Madden was the hockeyist who played at dentistry. Dink Madden grew up in Ottawa is an Irish Roman Catholic. Although a well-known athlete during his college years, his later accomplishments never left Pittsburgh. In the 20s, he continued to play hockey at the apparent cost of his dentistry practice. Although he refereed a few games in 1930, he failed to reconnect with hockey after moving to Detroit. Yet, he likely maintained close contact with his best friend and best man, Eddie Nagle.

Born in May, 1893, Dink rose from a single parent home to athletic stardom. In 1895, Dink Madden’s mother and infant sister died, likely from complications of childbirth. Despite this, Dink made Hintonburg public school’s 1901 honor roll. By 1911, he enrolled in Ottawa college. There, he’d meet his lifelong friend, Eddie Nagle. They became famous athletes in hockey, football, and track and field. After they graduated in 1915, Madden attended McGill University leaving his home roots for the 1915/16 school year. In Summer 1916, Dink returned and, with Eddie, transferred to University of Pittsburgh.

From 1916/17 until the summer of 1918, Dink played Point with the Pittsburgh Athletic Association All-Stars while completing his dentistry degree. On the All-Stars team, he played with Herb Drury, Joe and Larry McCormick and others. In 1917/18, the All-Stars played the National Amateur Hockey League becoming the strongest team in United States amateur hockey.

In spring 1918, Dink and Eddie received Canadian draft notices. Together, they traveled back to Canada to answer the summons. Instead of entering into the infantry, he volunteered for the Royal Canadian Navy as surgeon practioners. Prior to leaving for England, Dink married local girl Margaret Lillian Spielmacher on 24 June, 1918. Eddie was witness and best man. After a short trip to Montreal and eastern Canada, Dink, Lilly and Eddie parted ways duration of the war. For the war, Dink was assigned to the HMS Anemone. He returned in June 1919 to finish his final year of dentistry school at University of Pittsburgh.

Dink reunited with Eddie at University of Pittsburgh for their final year of dentistry. They also played in local hockey for the 1919/20 season. After graduating though, Dink remained in Pittsburgh while Eddie moved to Saskatoon. Although Dink initially left hockey to start a dentistry practice, he returned to play for Pittsburgh in the 1920/21 USAHA season.

His post-war playing career did not last long. He coached an local amateur team for a season. Starting in 1923, he refereed hockey games. Additionally, he was a associate clerk of the course for the Pittsburgh Skating Association. However, his dentistry practice did not seem to get established. In 1925, he started a cigar store called Dink Maddens at 132 S. Highland Ave.

By 1928, Dink sold his store and left Pittsburgh for Detroit near his wife’s family. For the 1930/31 season, he refereed at least three hockey games, which one was an NHL-IHL exhibition. Despite listed with the “Dr.” moniker, it is not clear if he even attempted a dentistry practice in Detroit. In 1930, he worked at a bank. By 1942 he was a manager at Sears’ Gratiot Ave store. Yet, there is no mention of a dentistry practice.

Dink passed away in 1954 at the age of 83. Father of two and husband of one. Dink became a champion in Pittsburgh. Though leading a fairly ordinary life after Pittsburgh, he would still be considered a champion.

The NAHL: Dr. Edmund “Eddie” Burke Nagle

Saskatoon’s adopted, Dr. Edmund Burke Nagle, dedicated himself equally to dentistry and amateur sports, especially hockey. Born in Almonte, Canada, Eddie, as he’d become to be known, played football and hockey at St. Joseph High School in the early-1900s. However, it was in college where his athletic talents rose to fame.

Starting in November, 1910, Eddie enrolled in Ottawa College with newspapers declaring his right half-back position. However, he also continued to play the seven-man hockey. He starred at center and learned under Father Stanton. Additionally, he played alongside Dr. Francis Charles “Dink” Madden with whom he’d become fast friends.

Prior to Eddie’s graduation, he traveled to Battleford, Saskatechewan for part of the 1913/14 season. Battleford desired a Senior A hockey team. Eddie only played for the one season and returned to Ottawa. Although he’d travel to play in other locales, like Dunnville, those brief months in Battleford must have made an impression.

After graduating in 1915, he waited or took a break. He continued to play amateur sports with the Ottawa Club. In Fall 1915, he injured his foot playing football, which may have required an operation. The injury possibly caused him to change his mind on professional hockey. However, the discussions between the Aberdeens (Amateur) and Coach Alfred Smith of the professional Ottawa Senators. Or, may be, it was conversations with his long time friend, Dink Madden.

In 1915, the newspapers expected Eddie to attend McGill University like his friend Dink. Instead, Eddie spent the year wandering from 1915 until 1916. During this time, he managed the Aberdeen’s amateur hockey team. Also, he played amateur sports with Dink Madden. In November 1916, Eddie and Dink surprised Ottawa by moving to Pittsburgh.

Eddie and Dink attended University of Pittsburgh to study Dentistry. They played hockey with the city’s famous Pittsburgh All-Stars, or YellowJackets. During the 1917/18 season, they also played in the National Amateur Hockey League with the All-Stars. In May 1918, they received their draft notice from Canada. Unlike four of their colleagues who joined the U.S. Army, Eddie and Dink traveled back to Canada to enlist. They chose to take a commission in the Royal Navy as Surgeon Probationers.

Eddie reunited with Dink in Pittsburgh in 1919 in time for school and hockey season. They continued to play with the All-Stars. After hockey, war and other events, Eddie and Dink graduated as dentists in June 1920.

Eddie and Dink had at least one last adventure together. Dink traveled to Ottawa to be witness for Eddie’s marriage. On July 14, 1920, Eddie married Kathleen Shamon. While Dink returned to Pittsburgh, Eddie and Kathleen moved back to Saskatoon and Battleford.

After starting up his practice, Eddie remained active in amateur sports, especially hockey. He played into his final years of life for the School for the Deaf. Additionally, he became renowned in trapshooting. He and Kathleen loved travel. On a cruise ship near San Fransisco, Dr. Edmund Nagle passed away on June 24, 1966. Eddie Nagle left behind a legacy of sports, dedication and community.

Sources:
St. Joseph Church History
CEF Enlistment Paperwork, Library and Archives Canada
UK Naval List, July 1919
Marriage Certificate, Courtesy of Ancestry.com (paid account required)
School for the Deaf, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Nagle’s Obituary, Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon) courtesy of newspaper.com
Montreal Gazette
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Journal
Saskatoon Daily Star
Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon)
Pittsburgh Press

The NAHL: Forrest Clifford Osgood

The skilled, charismatic high school forward pursued battles of healing after the war. Born on June 22, 1891, Forrest Clifford Osgood made a name for himself as an elite forward for Arlington High School. After graduating in 1911, he played on the Intercolonials and the Unicorns. After the war, he stayed in the South, and noted in prominent social circles. By 1930, he had established himself as a Christian Science Practitioner in Atlanta. He married Atlantan socialite Lillian Dalton Owens (White) in the mid-30s. During the 30s and 40s, Forrest officiated many funerals as a Christian Science reader or practitioner. The Osgoods moved to Florida in the late-40s, where Forrest passed away in 1949 and Lillie in 1979. Along this path, Forrest interacted with many fascinating people, and even left his own mark on history.

The noted Arlington High School forward played for three seasons from 08/09 – 10/11. During that time, his teammates included Wendell Reycroft and Jack Hutchinson. According to the Globe, the team unanimously elected him to be the captain for the 1910/11 season. The Globe article highlighted his popularity and creativity. They credited him with creating several popular rally chants. Unfortunately, the 1910/11 Arlington team lost the championship to Melrose. At the end of the season, the Massachusetts’ Freemasons of Hiram Lodge hosted a “Ladies Night” with Forrest and his older sister attending.

Forrest’s hockey days did not end with high school. He played a season on the Intercolonials alongside Raymie Skilton and next season on the Boston Athletic Association’s Unicorns with Ralph Winsor. Also during this time, he coached, probably instructed is better, the Arlington High School team for a few seasons including the epic 1912/13 championship run. Forrest remained with the Unicorns until he joined the Navy.

As the war wound down, Forrest remained in Pensacola where the Navy sent him for flight school. In December 1918, he initiated with the Hiram Lodge of the Massachusetts Freemasons. He achieved full membership in February 1919. Although his membership card listed Arlington as his residence, he spent considerable time in Florida. Newspapers note his attendance to several social functions in Florida between 1920 and 1925. While he continued to travel, he eventually settled in Atlanta, Georgia by 1930.

By 1930, he also joined the Church of Christ, Scientist, and became a public practitioner.   Around this same time, he met Lillian Owens (White), who was also involved in Christian Science. Lillie’s father was a key figure in growing the Atlanta Constitution, a newspaper. She also engaged in several social functions including leading committees in the Brenau College Club. They’d marry in 1935. After 1935, A few times, he offered opening remarks for guest speakers from the Boston head church. His congregation elected to be a reader at least once. And, he regularly rendered final rites.

As for children, Forrest does not appear to have fathered any. Lillie’s two boys were in their early twenties when Forrest and Lillie married. Forrest and Lillie retired to New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 1946. Just two years later, Forrest would die in 1949 after an illness. Lillie passed on in 1979. While these facts are known, questions will remain about the charismatic, Bostonian hockey youth who surrounded himself with Southern social elites.

Sources:
1. Forrest C. Osgood player profile. Society for International Hockey Research. (Note: Requires paid account.)
2. Hiram Lodge, Massachusetts.
3. Forrest Clifford Osgood. Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards 1733–1990. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (Courtesy of Ancestry.com)
4. Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 2340097 (courtesy of Ancestry.com)
5. Year: 1940; Census Place: Buckhead, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: m-t0627-00675; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 60-23A (Courtesy of Ancestry.com)
6. Christian Science Practitioner. Wikipedia.
7. Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Orlando Evening Star and other newspapers courtesy of newspapers.com

The NAHL: Wendell Gage Reycroft

People identified Wendell Gage Reycroft as a well-liked, well-rounded, solid performer who transformed an industry.

Born May 1894, Wendell attended Arlington High School as a class of 1913. He played a strong game of hockey along with team mates Jack Hutchinson and Forrest Osgood. Arlington H.S. faced Melrose H.S. for the 1912/13 Interscholastic League Championship. Each school’s record was 11-0-1, with the tie game being with each other. Arlington scored more goals 55-10 over Melrose 48-11. However, people considered the teams to be generally even matched. For the game, Wendell, right wing, opposed Percy Wanamaker, left wing. The ref called the game after 65 minutes with double overtime. At the end, the game tied 2-2 resulted in a playoff that would be played on March 19, 1913. To front page news, Arlington won the game 2-0 and cinched the 1912/13 championship. Franklin Collier illustrated Wendell’s winning goal for the Boston Globe.

In high school, Wendell did not make the interscholastic team. He simply played the game well. This carried over to his Dartmouth days.

Wendell played hockey on Dartmouth’s team from 1913/14 until 1916/17. While at college, he continued to play alongside many notable hockeyists like George Geran and Robert Paisely. Finally, his hard work earned him a spot on an All-Collegian team in 1916.  Unlike his contemporaries, Wendell elected to not play on any of the local amateur teams. His brother, Louis, took the competitive sports mantle.

In April 1917, he joined the Navy Reserve in Rhode Island. The Navy activated him and sent him overseas as an aviator. After coming back, he joined Bassick, a caster and floor truck manufacturer, in 1920. By 1933, he rose to a vice president position. Additionally, he co-founded the Caster and Floor Truck Manufacturers Association, which is now known as the Institute of Caster and Wheel Manufacturers (ICWM). He also became a president of the organization. Through the organization, he helped create industry standards for casters and wheels.

In 1920, Wendell married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Russell. They both enjoyed golf. However, Eleanor excelled at it. She became state champion for Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Bridgeport Country Club elected her president at least once. Golf started for Eleanor at age 10 and didn’t stop until 98. Besides golfing, she supported many charities including Girl Scouts, Visiting Nurses and American Red Cross. Gloria Negri excelled in summarizing Eleanor’s life for Boston Globe’s obituary.

Wendell retired in 1959 and passed away 1978. Eleanor died at 109 in 2004. By all accounts, Wendell and Eleanor were very affable people, intelligent and persistent.

Sources:
#. Institute for Casters and Wheel Manufacturers.
#. Directory of Industry Advisory Committees. United States War Production Board. January 1943. Government Printing Office.
#. Dartmouth College Class of 1917 reunion – 1953.  (Second Row, sixth person from the left.)
#. Wendell Reycroft Retirement. Bridgeport Post. 1958.
#. Eleanor Russell Reycroft Obituary. Boston Globe. 2004.
#. Military, Compiled Service Records. World War I. Wendell Gage Reycroft, ENS. National Archives, St. Louis.
#. Wendell Gage Reycroft, player profile. Society for International Hockey Research. (Note: Requires paid account.)
#. Boston Globe, Bridgeport Post, Montreal Gazette and other newspapers courtesy of newspapers.com

The NAHL: Frank Patrick Downing

Frank Patrick Downing allowed his dedication and skill to speak. A midwest transplant from Milwaukee, the Downings moved to Somerville in the early 1900s. Attending Somerville High School, Frank gained attention for hockey. After high school, he worked for the National Biscuit Company, a.k.a. NABISCO. Throughout the ‘teens and early twenties, he won championships in the American amateur hockey leagues. In 1922, he quietly hung up his amateur hockey skates. His accomplishments standing on their own.

Despite moving at an early age. Frank Downing appears to have retained nany character traits typically associated with the midwest. Born in June 1894, he found himself in Somerville High School’s class of 1915. Whether through hard work, talent or both, Frank excelled in sports, specifically hockey. Due to his skill and attaining captain, the Boston Globe placed him on their 1913/14 Interscholastic All-star team along with Percy Wanamaker.

While still playing high school hockey, Frank rose to senior amateur hockey. For the 1914/15 season, he played with the Boston Arenas. At the time, the Arenas team included Frank Synnott, Mickey Roach, Farrell Conley, and others. He even played at least one game with Raymie Skilton. Afer graduating, he switched to the B.A.A. Unicorns.

In 1917, he submitted his draft card. He listed assistant foreman at National Biscuit for his occupation. He placed his employment location on 128 Franklin St., which is the former Kennedy Biscuit Co. Before the Army called, Frank joined the Navy Reserve Force.

After the war, Frank returned to NABISCO and amateur hockey. First, he started with BAA. In 1922, he drove the Westminster to a USAHA championship. He almost led the team to an international win against Pere Marquette. Pere Maquette promised a unique challenge cup for the series. Yet, the cup was never presented. Depending upon the amateur rules, the Marquette won 2 games to 1 (Canadian newspapers) or it was a tie with 3 goals apiece (Boston Globe). Either way, Pere Marquette never had to show the promised cup. At 28, Frank hung up his skates with a Fellowes challenge cup for his final hockey prize.

In October 1924, Frank married Dorothy Ann Deacon. They had two children, Francis and John. By 1942, the Downings moved to Philadephia. Frank continued working for NABISCO. At 48, Frank provided nearly thrity years of service to NABISCO. He still had a long life yet ahead.

At 88, Frank passed away in Philadelphia. Dorothy passed away five years later in 1987. Many details about Frank are not publicly known. What is known are the comparisons to some of the greatest hockey players of his era, his championships, and his dedication to his family, country and craft.

Sources:
1. Kennedy Biscuit Co. Cambridge Historical Commission. Jan 16, 2019
2. History of Candy Making in Cambridge. Natalie Moravek. Cambridge Historical Society. 2011
3. United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm. (Courtesy of ancestry.com)
4. World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication: M1951. NAI: 563728. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A. (Courtesy of ancestry.com)
5. Frank Downing player profile. SIHR. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=134087 (NOTE: Requires a paid account.)
6. Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Ottawa Citizen and others courtesy of newspapers.com

The NAHL: Percy Weston Wanamaker

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.

Sources:
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
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_the_Aisne
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
6. https://icehockey.fandom.com/wiki/1920-21_USAHA_Season
7. https://icehockey.fandom.com/wiki/1921-22_USAHA_Season
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/187th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)#Korean_War
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kumsong
10. The Boston Globe, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and others courtesy of newspapers.com

Additional Sources:
1. American Field Service: https://afs.org/archives/world-war-i-diaries/

The NAHL: Herbert “Herb” John Drury

Herbert “Herb” John Drury’s reality became about hockey leaving him rather than him leaving hockey. The Midland native became hockey greatness with an innate skill that challenged Hobey Baker for greatest American player of his day. However, time and injury slowed the hero. Although he attempted to become a referee, he failed to make the transitions necessary to remain attached to the sport. Despite an unceremonious end, Herb long remained the standard for comparing new players well after he passed.

The two-time Olympic Silver medalist skated into the world on March 2, 1896 in Midland, Ontario. After the 1915/16 season in Port Colbourne, he transitioned to St. Paul. However, he only briefly stayed. By the 1916/17, Roy Schooley convinced him to move to Pittsburgh.

For the next ten years, Herb dominated hockey. He played at the rover position in seven-man hockey. In seven-man hockey, all positions moved along fixed lines except the rover. The center is roughly an equivalent position in modern (six-man) hockey. The rover needed excellent skating skills to succeed. By all accounts, Herb darted around the enabling the wingers to score.

During next ten years, Herb starred on an all-star, all- Canadian team. They were called the Pittsburgh All-stars. Teammates included Joe and Larry McCormick and many others. They won three United States amateur hockey championships in seven seasons. When the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets turn professional, Herb went with them.

Despite an explosive inaugural seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates struggled in the NHL and they struggled financially. Additionally, Herb’s age started to show. He fell out of starting positions to Lionel Conacher and others. When the Pirates moved to Philadelphia, Herb moved with them. The Quakers struggled worse than in Pittsburgh. The Quakers unceremoniously and quietly dismissed Herb in mid-February 1931.

At the end of his playing career, Herb felt hockey owed him. However, that can be debated. He got at least one game as an NHL referee. He performed two years as a Pittsburgh area collegiate and amateur hockey referee. Finally, he participated in most of the Pittsburgh old-timers hockey games which gave exposure to his Oakmont restaurant.

While he attained glory on the ice, off-ice matters were more modest moderate. Herb worked as a mill wright prior to enlisting in WWI. After all the hockey and restaurant business matters, he returned to the steel industry. He eventually retired from U.S. Steel. In the late-20s, Herb married, but they divorced in the early-40s.  Herb’s address always seemed to be tied to another parent or relative. Additionally, Herb possibly suffered from concussions. All potential stressors on someone who just wanted to play hockey.

Herb died in a VA hospital on 30 July, 1965. When the press mocked his beer keg physique, he attempted to get back into shape. When hockey left him, he complained a bit and then moved on. However, they held him up as a standard to compare greatness. He never forgot them.

Research notes: Official US Government records and various databases attribute different middle names, birth, and death dates. An alternate middle name is Joseph. Common alternative birthdates include April 2, 1896, July 2, 1896, and even dates in years 1894 and 1895. Some of these dates are in official government documents indicating sloppy clerical work. The most common incorrect death date is July 1, 1965.

Thu, Feb 20, 1936 – 23 · “Old-Timers Game” · Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Herb Druryhttps://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/blog/western-pennsylvania-history/olympics-ice-herb-drury
2. Philadelphia Quakers Release Herb Drury, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 February 1931. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/35539039/pittsburgh_postgazette/
3. Herb Drury Stats: https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=6887 (Note: Requires a paid account)
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Yellow_Jackets
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Pirates_(NHL)
6. Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh Gazette, Boston Globe, and other newspapers courtesy of newspapers.com