Pekka and Juhani: Their Migrant Story

In late August 1975, Pekka Rautakallio, his wife Arja, and their two-year-old son, stepped off a plane into Phoenix’s sweltering heat. During those weeks, temperature highs floated between 105F/40.5C to 107F/41.6C. Back in Pori, Finland, summer started turning into fall with highs around 57.5F/14.2C. The Rautakallios retrieved their luggage ready to start the upcoming Phoenix Roadrunners’ hockey season. When he stepped off the plane, Rautakallio became a migrant worker as a Roadrunner defenseman.

Excluding advances in transportation, Rautakallio’s story shared many aspects with European migrants of the early-1900s. At the turn of the twentieth century, steamship agents recruited peasants trumpeting America’s wealth. The agents often acted as auctioneers, creditors, and even loaned clothes. Furthermore, agents knew about jobs and wages of destinations. After recruiting a peasant, the agents tagged him, usually with a button, to ensure smooth flow through the pipeline to America (Wyman 1993, 15-31). Sports agents share many commonalities with their steamship counterparts.

In July 1975, Finnish star Juhani Wahlsten convinced Rautakallio and Lauri Mononen to travel to Phoenix. Herb Rudory, a Chicago-based sports agent, met them in Phoenix. Rudoy negotiated two-year contracts for Rautakallio and Lauri Mononen with the Phoenix RoadRunners*. At the contract signing party, Rudoy preened for the publicity shot (Arizona Republic 1975, 30).

Steamship agents of yore accompanied their recruits on part of their journey until passing them to the next link in the chain (Wyman 1993, 29). Waiting outside the airport, the Rautakallios found Roadrunners’ General Manager, Al Rollins, waiting for them. Effectively, Rudory handed them off.

Taking them from the airport, Rollins dropped the Rautakallios off at a motel to find housing, transportation, and other necessities. Rautakallio spoke limited English. At practice, teammate Cam Connor asked Rautakallio about his name. Rautakallio replied in bad English, “It means Iron Rocky”. Thus, Rautakallio earned his nickname, Rocky. Still in adjustment, they lived out of the motel. Unknown to the Rautakallios, Phoenix contained a thriving Finnish community centered around George and Helmi Anttila.

 After reading about a new Finnish hockey player, George tracked down the Rautakallios. George’s parents emigrated from Ranua, Finland in the early 1900s as immigrant laborers. George grew up in Michigan. In 1947, George and his wife, Helmi, moved to Phoenix due to health reasons. In 1953, the Finlandia Foundation opened a chapter in Phoenix. George was its first president and held the post for 23 years. Over the years, George assisted Finnish athletes and hobos. For promoting friendship between the United States and Finland, Finnish President Urho Kekkonen awarded George the Medal First Class with Gold Cross of the Order of the White Rose in December 1964 (Cooke 1970). George extended that helping hand to the Rautakallios.

 Anttila met Rautakallio in the Roadrunners’ office. From there, Anttila helped Rautakallio rent an apartment just a few blocks away on 17th Ave. Then, Anttila assisted them with getting furnishings and a car. When Mononen arrived in September 1975, Pekka already started informal training with Roadrunners’ coach, Sandy Hucul. While Mononen met the Anttilas, he received help from fellow Karelian living in Phoenix. Repeating history, both players relied upon the pre-existing community to help them transition.

The 1976/77 season added two more Finns to the Roadrunner roster, Seppo Repo (center) and Juhani Tamminen (left wing). With Mononen at right wing, these three Finns formed the Lappline because they originated from Lapland in northern Finland. The Lappline lived near each other on W. Octollio Rd. They lived so close that they would carpool to practice. Also, Rautakallio moved from 17th to 27th Ave. possibly to be close to the other Finns.

Ocotillo Rd and 27th Ave. 1979/2019 (Maricopa.gov)

Although Rautakallio’s English improved, the team declared Tamminen the official team interpreter. In the 70s, Finnish school experienced a systemic reform (Jaatinen 2014, 30). Reforming the schools included replacing German with English in the 1960s (Jaatinen, 39). As result, Rautakallio and the other Finns may have learned Latin and German, but only briefly exposed to English. Tamminen’s college offered a path to learning English not available to the other Finns.

On April 6, 1977, the Tamminen supplied the WHA Phoenix Roadrunners’ final win with three goals and an assist. The team’s 7-3 win against Indianapolis sealed the end of the team, but not the Finns. Tamminen and Repo finished the season with the Oklahoma Blazers. Rautakallio and Mononen returned to Finland. By the 1977/78 season, all Finns played for teams in the top Finnish league. In 1979, Rautakallio returned States-side to play for the NHL’s Atlanta Flames. He became the first Finn to play in an NHL all-star game.

Rautakallio Stats (hockeydb.com)

Tamminen Stats (hockeydb.com)

Migration stories rarely end with the accomplishment of a few successful migrants. For example, the US Visa office considered Rautakallios, Tamminen, and the other Finns to be nonimmigrants. Migrating for work does not equate to being an immigrant. Transient athletes acquired an H-1, exceptional ability, or an H-2, temporary worker, visas potentially impacting quotas until 1990. In 1990, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service created a new category, P, to separately cover nonimmigrant, professional athletes. And what of their impact.

Today, the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum still stands. Its economic impact is modest at best, but its cultural impact significant. It brought world class hockey to the desert. Its ice allowed Finns to demonstrate their hockey prowess for the NHL and the world. Finally, it kept winter sports alive for a young, Mexican-American named Auston Matthews to discover a passion for ice hockey. From San Ramon, California to Scottsdale, Az and now in Toronto, Matthews learned hockey from a Ukrainian who was Mexico’s director of ice hockey. All because of family connections to Mexico (Pinchevsky 2017). Matthews scored the most goals in the 2020/21 NHL season dominating the Rocket Richard race against Alex Ovechkin (Capitals) and Pasternack (Bruins). The circle completed as migrant worker Anttila assisted migrant Rautakallio who kept alive a migrant worker’s sport for migrant Matthews to excel.

*NOTE: This transaction was likely one of Rudoy’s first as an agent. By the 1980s, Rudoy improved how he handled players. Currently, Rudoy performs agent duties for NBA, NFL, and soccer (MLS and FIFA) players.

Links to the other parts of the 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

Player Stats (Hockeydb):
Pekka Rautakallio
Lauri Mononen
Seppo Repo
Juhani Tamminen


SOURCES:
Pekka Rautakallio (Hockey Player/Coach) in discussion with Hannu Kauhala, June 2021.
Juhani Tamminen (Hockey Player/Coach) in discussion with Hannu Kauhala, June 2021.
Wyman, Mark. (1993). Round-trip to America: the immigrants return to Europe, 1880-1930. Ithaca, N.Y : Cornell University Press, 15-31.
“Publicity Photo of Al Rollins, Juhani Whalsten, Pekka Rautakallio, Lauri Mononen, and Herb Rudoy.” Arizona Republic, June 17, 1975, 30.
Cooke, Ellen “Cooke’s Carte: Someone to put the Finnish to the Food”. Arizona Republic, December 3, 1970.
Order of the White Rose of Finland – Ritarikunnat, last accessed June 22, 2021.
Phoenix Roadrunners [WHA] all-time player list at hockeydb.com, last accessed June 22, 2021.
Jaatinen, R., & Saarivirta, T. (2014). The Evolution of English Language Teaching during Societal Transition in Finland – A mutual relationship or a distinctive process?. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11). http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2014v39n11.3
Pinchevsky, Tal “Secret behind Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews’ skating prowess is a Ukrainian via Mexico”. ESPN, Jan 17, 2017. NHL — The secret weapon behind Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews’ skating prowess is a Ukrainian instructor who moved from Mexico (espn.com) Last accessed June 23, 2021.

Climate data:
Climate Pori (August 1975) – Climate data (29520) (tutiempo.net)
https://www.almanac.com/weather/history/AZ/Phoenix/1975-08-01

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)

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

The NAHL: The Team Rosters

The NAHL (1917/18) consisted of forty-four core players, four teams, three promoters and one head coach. The smallest team with the fewest player substitutions was the Pittsburgh Athletic Association with eight core people and a few substitutes. The First Naval District team had thirteen players with significant contribution. However, the New York Wanderers topped at fourteen players making contributions to the 1917/18 NAHL seasons. It is not my intention to document all forty-four players.

I would like to provide a sense of completion. Please note that research is still being conducted to identify players. The promoters include George V. Brown, Roy D. Schooley and Cornelius Fellowes. Ralph Winsor was the only dedicated coach, and he was Navy. In this list are at least three dentists, at least four Navy WWI pilots, one WWI Marine Corps pilots, two Canadian Royal Navy WWI veterans, four US Army WWI veterans, and twelve US Navy WWI veterans. For the season that almost wasn’t, it laid a foundation for a half of decade of U.S. hockey.

Family NameGiven NameTeam
BakerAngus G. “Stubby”Pittsburgh
DruryHerbert “Herb”Pittsburgh
FullerPaddy “P.J.”Pittsburgh
McCormickJoseph “Joe”Pittsburgh
McCormickLawrence “Larry”Pittsburgh
McCrimmonRussellPittsburgh
NagleEddiePittsburgh
MaddenF.C.Pittsburgh
CannTheodore “Ted”First Naval District
DowningFrankFirst Naval District
GawGeorge “Chippie”First Naval District
GeranGeorge “Jerry”First Naval District
HowardThomas Jr.First Naval District
HutchinsonJohn “Jack”First Naval District
LaCroixAlphonseFirst Naval District
O’hareJohn JamesFirst Naval District
OsgoodForrestFirst Naval District
PaiselyRobertFirst Naval District
ShaughnessyJoeFirst Naval District
SheaJohnFirst Naval District
SkiltonRaymond “Raymie”First Naval District
HughesunknownBoston Arenas
MartinUnknownBoston Arenas
McNeilUnknownBoston Arenas
MurphyUnknownBoston Arenas
NowellBertBoston Arenas
O’SullivanPaulBoston Arenas
RiceUnknownBoston Arenas
StoreyFrankBoston Arenas
SynnottFrankBoston Arenas
WannamakerPercyBoston Arenas
ClaffyUnknownNew York Wanderers
CrovatLamyNew York Wanderers
DufresneErnieNew York Wanderers
HeffernanFrankNew York Wanderers
LewisFredNew York Wanderers
McCarthyUnknownNew York Wanderers
McKinnonUnknownNew York Wanderers
MyraGeorgeNew York Wanderers
PowersUnknownNew York Wanderers
ReycroftLouisNew York Wanderers
RoachMickeyNew York Wanderers
SmithTurkNew York Wanderers
WellingtonAlexander “Duke”New York Wanderers
WendellUnknownNew York Wanderers

The NAHL: Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick

Lawrence “Larry” James McCormick left behind minor fame following his younger brother Joe to Pittsburgh.  Larry drove the Buckingham Seniors of the Lower Ottawa Valley League to three Maclaren Cups, 1907/08, 1912/13 and 1914/15. He captained the team during the 1914/15 run. For Larry, the decision to leave probably was more about supporting family and friends than chasing a cup.

The McCormick’s baptized their newest son, Larry, at St-Gregoire-de-Naziance in Buckingham, Quebec. Locked into tradition, Larry carried it with him throughout life.

Larry remained in Buckingham until 1915. Several factors possibly pushed, pulled or dragged Larry from Buckingham. During the summer, he, Joe and Ed Gorman, a 1927 Stanley Cup winner with the Ottawa Senators, left for Cleveland to play for Mr. Shannon. They quickly found themselves in Pittsburgh. Shannon ran afoul of the Ontario Hockey Association and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, who banned Cleveland’s team with claims of professionalism. As a result, the group found themselves trying out for the Pittsburgh teams in early January 1916. Roy Schooley picked them up for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Buckingham and Pittsburgh recognized Larry’s shot and situational awareness. Newspapers from 1907 until the 20s commented on it. Roy declared Larry captain of the 1920 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, which won silver.  Larry played one last season, 1921/22 before transitioning to coaching and refereeing.

Larry coached amateur Pittsburgh teams from the USAHA to the local club level. During his first season of coaching the YellowJackets, he got into an altercation with Canadian Soo player, Charley Boucher. Larry, as one of the two referees, penalized Boucher. Instead of heading to the bench, Boucher skated over to Larry. The Pittsburgh Press indicated Larry came out the better of the scrap. Whether fists flew or not, Larry personified hockey tradition.

Because Larry held-fast to amateurism, he worked as a car mechanic. His occupation in the war years was at Samson’s Motor Company. The employment ended with mobilization into the Army Motor Transport Corps along with teammates Joe McCormick, Herb Drury and Angus Baker. While he may have returned to work for Samson’s after the war, he found a new occupation, husband.

A scribbled note next to his baptism entry marks 19 July, 1921. Larry, much like his brother Joe, were practicing Catholics. Just after that date, Larry married Hazel Marie Chisholm. She probably did not like her first name. On drafts cards or military service compensation, Larry always wrote her name as “H. Marie”.

Around Roy’s death in November 1933, Larry and Marie started looking for a new place to settle. They were in New York for a bit in 1935. Larry came back to Pittsburgh for an old-timer’s game in February 1936. However, they found their home in Barnstable, Massachusetts. After a long illness, Larry passed away on 30 December, 1961 in Hyannis with services held at Our Lady of Victory. Marie’s journey continued until 7 November, 1980.

I think of the brothers as representing the two sides of the hockey coin. Joe represented the new era of hockey players. Whereas, Larry memorialized the hockey players of “then”.

Sat, Jan 12, 1929 – Page 16 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/lower-ottawa-valleys-holy-hockey-grail-uncovered
2. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=33599 (Note: Requires paid account)
3. World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication M2090, 166 rolls. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A.
4. Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp
#. Pittsburgh Press, Ottawa Journal and others courtesy of Newspapers.com