Interlude: Winnipeg’s Forgotten Hockey Royalty, “King” Attie Howard

By the end of 1930, Thomas Atcheson “Attie” Howard became one of hockey’s most important forgotten legends. During his time in the limelight, hockey drastically changed from a predominantly amateur sport to a self-sustaining professional entity. Additionally, game play drastically changed. Approved rule changes included multiple substitutions and reduction to six players on the ice. With such a storied life, a simple posting can only highlight a few major events and aspects of hockey’s King.

Thomas Howard was player, coach, and fan of hockey. Although Tom played in college, he is better known as a Winnipeg Victoria Forward. His playing career peaked with winning the Stanley Cup. Although seemingly acquired by St. Paul hockey club in 1899, Tom signed a contract to coach at Yale.

In 1900, Tom started his coaching career. In a professional capacity, Tom coached at Yale for ten years, Columbia University, Yale, Dean of Hockey at Jamaica High School,  and was possibly considered for the general manager role for the New York Americans. However, it appears Tom’s love was always amateur hockey and returned to coach the sport time and time again.

Tom wasn’t just a player. He wasn’t just a coach. He was a fan of the game, especially when his sons played. Both of his sons joined the Navy Reserve and played for the Boston Yard team. Well, an account of a game between The Wanderers (of New York) and the Boston Yard Team highlighted how hockey was a family affair, even if they were in the stands.

Hockey fights are family affairs for the HowardsHockey fights are family affairs for the Howards Tue, Feb 19, 1918 – Page 15 · New York Herald (New York, New York) ·

For each major change in hockey in the teens and twenties, people consulte Tom or his Almanac. Whether it was the transition from seven to six man squads or amateur over pros, newspapers sought Tom’s opinion. Additionally, Tom supported his wife as she coached the St. Nicholas Blues, a women’s hockey team.

Tom retires around 1927 and moves to Los Angeles with his son, Tom Jr. The last note in a long, storied life came from The Winnipeg Tribune:

Toms obitToms obit Fri, Nov 30, 1945 – Page 5 · The Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) ·

Tom’s Wife, Kathleen, lived on until 1967. Tom’s kids, well, more on them later because Tom’s story doesn’t end here.

Interlude: Hobey Baker – American Football, Hockey, and War Hero

In a bit of controversy, superstition, and ill-advised actions, Hobart “Hobey” Baker joined the ranks of America’s fallen.  On Dec 21, 1918, Baker launched in a newly repaired Spad for a flight test. The Spad wasn’t his normal plane. He received demobilization orders, and this was his final evening with squadron. He was going out “for one final ride.” With all the hallmarks tragedy in place, Baker died from injuries sustained from the plane crash.

Long before Hobey graced the skies over France, he was Princeton’s football and hockey star. Here is an excerpt from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on January 23, 1911:

Columbia, under Tom Howard, loses to Princeton with Hobey Baker in his freshman yearColumbia, under Tom Howard, loses to Princeton with Hobey Baker in his freshman year Tue, Jan 23, 1912 – Page 15 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) ·

This was Hobey’s freshman year at Princeton. It was also Tom “Attie” Howard’s first year of coaching at Columbia. After college, Hobey played for the St. Nick’s Athletic Club in the amateur hockey league. As a result, Hobey and Attie crossed paths many times over the years.

Hobey Baker joining the aviation corps garnered some of the biggest headlines in 1916. Additionally, Hobey moved to Philadelphia and played hockey for the Quaker City club by Dec 1916. Despite all that, the Canadian Club asked Hobey Baker to play for their team in a charity match. Hobey accepted and was the only American on a Canadian rock star team.

Wed, Mar 21, 1917 – Page 20 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) ·

By all accounts, Hobey Baker was the quintessential American sports hero. Furthermore, he became a hero in France earning a Croix de Guerre. Even though he died by his own actions after the war, I’m taking the time remember an American hero. One of many.

1. A Flame that Bured too Brightly: Hobey Baker. Fimrite, Ron. Sports Illustrated. August 20, 2014.