The NAHL: Dr. George Joseph Gaw

For a man who only pitched in six major league baseball games, Dr. George Joseph Gaw remains closely associated with the game. But, baseball was not his only passion. George was a dentist, ship builder, WWI Navy Veteran, coach and a hockeyist. Along the way, he earned the nickname “Chippy” or “Chippie”. And, he married Dorothy Schroeder, a Newton HS basketball star and Chippy’s high school crush. In many ways, George Gaw was just your average New Englander.

George Gaw came into this world on Sunday, March 13, 1892 in Newton, Massachusetts. He played baseball (pitcher) and hockey (forward) for Newton High School. In 1911, Gaw entered minor league baseball with the Lancaster Red Roses. The move to Pennsylvania lasted just one game. Chippy returned to Boston after a couple of days. He bounced back eventually earning on spots the International League, AA ball at the time. Chippy helped the Buffalo Bisons win the pennant in 1915 and 16. In 1917, the Bisons released Chippy in mid-season mainly due to contract conflict. However, the Bisons waited until a badly pitched game before handing him the “blue ticket”. The Providence Grays picked him up.

In the off season, Chippy attended Tufts Dental for a dental degree. By 1914, sports writers labelled him as the “kid dentist”, “tooth twirler” and similar mash ups. By 1916, he opened a small dentistry office in Waltham, Massachusetts. As the war came, he shut down everything and joined the Navy Reserve. With the Navy, Chippie played on Ralph Winsor‘s hockey team and later on the baseball team.

As the war wound down, Chippy returned to the civilian games he never left. In 1920, the Chicago Cubs brought him up for six games before pushing him to Milwaukee Brewers, a AA-team at the time. Through all of this, Chippy focused on finishing his degree, which happened in 1921. Chippy’s baseball career ended on September 9, 1928 in front 15,000 people. Chippy pitched for the losing South Boston against Quincy in Boston’s Twilight League. Chippy coached college baseball, too. In 1920, he coached Boston University. In 1921, it was Harvard’s second team getting expertise. Finally, Chippy settled down at BU starting in 1924 until 1928.

As for hockey, Chippy stopped playing and started coaching. First, he coached Lafayette in Buffalo and Pomfret high schools. In 1920/21, MIT picked Chippy to coach hockey. Although he played for Newton High School (1910) and Tufts, people expected Chippy to coach in the “Winsor style” that he learned in the Navy. From 1921/22 until 1928, Chippy coached Dartmouth (1), Princeton (2), and Boston University (4). In the move to BU, he replaced former teammate John James O’hare as head coach. Across those years, he recorded .581 (50-31-5) win percentage. (NOTE: does not include MIT era.)

After his sports careers wound down, George never really left baseball. He gave hockey one last coaching attempt in 1932. Unfortunately, Chippy was too serious for the Boston Hockey Club. But, Chippy was on the mound for old-timer games like one on July 12, 1939. He engaged in Babe Ruth’s final appearance as player in a July 12, 1943 exhibition game. He commented on Pantsy Donovan’s passing, too.

With the onset of World War II, Chippy registered for the old man’s draft in April, 1942. At the time, George listed Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard as his place of employment. The Navy used this site to build many Destroyer Escorts. Even with this 25 million dollar contract at the shipyard, George filed for bankruptcy in 1943. Tragedy struck again when one of his sons, David, murdered his estranged wife in 1952. George and Dorothy just worked through it all.

In the midst of near retirement, he picked up a fascination for bullfighting. He would trot down to Nogales during spring training. He learned Spanish. Traveled across Spain and Italy in ’59. In mid-December 1960, the basketball star, whom he married in Bermuda, passed away. Focused on spring training and his grand children, George pushed through until David’s parole. In 1968, George followed Dorothy. Despite the baseball championships or the Ivy league hockey wins, Jerry Nason reminded us that to Chippy ¡Olé! equaled his other sports accomplishments.


Tue, May 28, 1968 – 29 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Chippy Gaw, “The Doctor is in”. Diamonds in the Dusk. Nov 8, 2012.
2. Year: 1916; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2456; Line: 4; Page Number: 82
3. Coach George Gaw. College Hockey News.
4. Hingham Shipyard History. Wikipedia
5. Chippy Gaw’s Obit. Part1, Part2. Jason Nason. Boston Globe. May 28, 1968.
6. Boston Globe

Other Sources:
1. Boston Terriers Men’s Hockey Recordbook, 1917-2016. Boston University.
2. Boston University Baseball Club. Boston University.
3. Boston Terriers Team History. College Hockey News.
4. Hingham Shipyard History. Smith Yacht.
5. List of WWII Navy vessels built at Hingham. ShipBuildingHistory.com

The NAHL: George Pierce Geran

A Dartmouth College kid hailing from Holyoke, Massachusetts glided on to the ice for the U.S. Navy in 1917. Possessing a natural talent for hockey, he danced around players from around the world over the course of his hockey career. Unlike his contemporaries, Jerry, or Gerry, only played hockey in high school. This focus and dedication led him to playing in the NHL, twice, in the Olympics, once, and several other hockey stages.

George Pierce Geran, or Jerry or Gerry for short, possessed a natural talent for hockey which many claimed to rival Hobey Baker‘s skill. Born in 1896, Jerry completed high school in Holyoke. Dartmouth accepted him in 1915, where he captained the freshman hockey team.  After the United States joined the war, Jerry traveled to Montreal and was selected by the Montreal Wanderers, one of the first NHL teams. Raymie Skilton also joined the Wanderers. However, it is not clear if they traveled together or if Raymie arrived later. Regardless, the Montreal Arena burned down cutting short both of their NHL careers. They returned to Massachusetts and joined the Navy Reserve.

While in the Reserves, Jerry played for the US Navy hockey in the US NAHL. Putting him in touch with Ralph Winsor, George Brown and Roy Schooley amongst others. This exposure creates an opportunity for Jerry to play on two USA Olympic ice hockey teams, 1920 and 1924. Some where between Montreal and the Navy, Jerry develops a friendship with Raymie that carries past the war and into the Boston Shoe Trades.

Jerry played on the Boston Shoe Trades for only one season. During that one season, Jerry probably learned the leather business. In 1921, he traveled to Paris on a business trip with Murray Leather Company. He would stay in France for the 1921 and much of the 1922 season. While in Paris, Jerry maintained his hockey skills at the Club des Patineurs de Paris. At the end of 1922, he returned to Massachusetts and the Boston Athletic Association Unicorns. He found a way out of his 1924 Olympic commitment. Then, he preceded to assist the Unicorns to at least one USAHA championship before leaping over to the Boston Bruins for the 1925-26 season.

Across the 30s and 40s, Jerry bounced around as his fancy. Whether it was becoming a professional scout for the New York Rangers. Or, professional development for a new team and rink in Hartford, Connecticut. He even traveled back to France to play in one final seasons during 1932-33. However, his last great push was the creation of the “Association of Professional Hockey Players of America”, the forerunner to today’s NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA). Over the course of Spring ’41, Jerry tried to get players and owners involved in an association to protect and provide for players in retirement. Despite not being the president, Herb Manning, of the Winnipeg Tribune, seemingly derided the effort as a money making scheme for Jerry. Jerry would at least live to see Ted Lindsay and others create the NHLPA in 1967.

In Jerry’s waning days, he’d pen opinions about Brooklyn sirens, honking and baseball in letters to the editor of the Daily News. After 1949, his active public profile waned to almost nothing. Dink Carroll lamented that Jerry’s time in France made him fat and past playing prime. But, Jerry played in the era’s top tier U.S. hockey league, the US Amateur Hockey Association. So, I think Dink’s criticism a bit unfair. Jerry died in Brooklyn at 85 in 1981, and the world did not take note of a man dedicated to his friends and sport.

Sources:
1. George Geran, Player Profile. Society of International Hockey Research. *Note: Paid Account Required.
2. 1920 Antwerp Olympic Winter Games. USA Hockey.
3. Montreal Arena. Wikipedia.
4. Club des Patineurs de Paris. Wikipedia.
5. Manning, Herb. One Man’s Opinion. Winnipeg Tribune. 22 April 1941.
A. The Boston Globe, Boston.
B. The Daily News, New York

The NAHL: John James O’hare Jr., esq.

John James O’hare Jr. maintained a sense of community through active engagement in alumni functions and public service. Born on 6 July, 1897, J.J. O’hare was one of the youngest members on the First Naval District hockey team. Like Raymie Skilton and other teammates, J.J. O’hare played multiple high school sports, including football (quarterback), baseball (1st base), and hockey (defense). During his time at English High School, J.J. earned the nicknames “Brick” (football) and “Red” (hockey), but, it was by “Brick” that he was known.

Brick graduated high school in April, 1917 and joined the Navy Reserves in September, 1917. He answered George Brown’s “call to sticks”. Ralph Winsor selected him for the team. This fortuitous event would lead to the formation of Boston University’s official hockey team.

Student movements tried twice between 1917 and 1922 to create a B.U. hockey team. The 1917-18 team played one game. Unfortunately, the war probably doomed this first attempt. The war absorbed much of the available sports talent. As a result, many colleges and amateur leagues decided against hosting an official team or championship series. East coast based hockey paused for the 1918-20 season. B.U. attempted a 1919-20 team but it only played two games. As a club team, it was likely hindered in securing games.

In 1920, B.U. reorganized its athletic association to include student leadership. Brick became its first vice president. Ever since taking the post, Brick attempted to get B.U. president Daniel Marsh to authorize an official hockey team. When Brick graduated B.U. in 1922, the seemingly ever-present George V. Brown also directed B.U.’s athletic association. With Brown’s backing, B.U. finally got an official hockey team for the 1922-23, and Brick would be its first coach.

Despite playing hockey since high school, Brick was not a good a coach. He got progressively worse over the course of his two years. His first season ended with 2 wins and 6 losses. Brick was known to “play the man”. He recounted the first time he played the MLB Hall of Fame Catcher Mickey Cochrane. He directed Cochrane to knock down George Owen every time [Owens] was on the ice. Several close games against skilled coaches like Ralph Winsor earned him a second season. Unfortunately, Brick finished with 1 win and 8 losses. “Chippie” Gaw replaced Brick for the 1924-25 season. For his effort, B.U. inducted John J. O’hare as an inaugural Hall of Fame member in 1959.

Brick graduated B.U. with a law degree. Bouncing around a few different law firms in the Boston area, Brick found his career in the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) as a trial lawyer. In the public’s eye, his legal activities remained second to alumni support.

Brick played in alumni games and presided over alumni activities well into the 1960s. He participated in the English High School annual football and hockey games until the mid-30s. The Globe noted his alumni activities and charity work for B.U. until the 60s.

Brick remained a local man all his life. He lived in Jamaica Plain. He worked and schooled in Boston. He died in Framingham. A dedicated man with a strong sense of community.

charlestown navy yard hockey teamcharlestown navy yard hockey team Tue, Feb 26, 1918 – 7 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comSources:
1. Boston University Hall of Fame.
2. Boston Terrier Hockey 1922-23, College Hockey News.
3. Boston Terrier Hockey 1923-24, College Hockey News.
4. J.J. O’hare Obituary. The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts. 21 Nov 1981
5. Mickey Cochrane Obituary. The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, 10 Jan 1962
6. Other Boston Globe papers, courtesy of Newspapers.com.

The NAHL: Raymond “Raymie” Skilton

Raymond “Raymie” Nelson Skilton typifies the fallen athlete hero. A star player from high school whose infamy grew as his fame departed. Perhaps, these simplified story lines belie a more complicated man. Or, maybe, the truth is as simple and direct as the man appeared to be.

Raymie’s illustrious hockey activities started as a Rindge Manual Training School goalie in 1905. He switched to defense in 1907. This position change was not a drastic change unlike the same shift in modern-era hockey. The early goalie was a normal player with no extra padding and strict rules. When the goalie got hurt, another player would simply step into the crease. If his later years reflect his youth, Raymie sought action and created it when missing. The static position of goalie probably clashed with Raymie’s innate personality.

Raymie shone as an early-era hockey “offensive defenseman”. Between the checking and scoring, Raymie led teams to victory. During the 1917-18 USNAHL season, he scored 11 goals in 11 games. During the height of his career, he typically averaged around a goal a game, which places him in contention with other forwards of his era.

Raymie did not limit himself to hockey, though. The Boston Globe named Raymie as Boston’s “Best All-Round Athlete” in 1916. The articled listed football, baseball, swimming, and horseback feats and accomplishments. Raymie played football and baseball in high school. At the time, ice hockey was a minor sport and played in the off-season between football and baseball. Raymie’s skill with horses possibly developed during his time with the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (MVM). Raymie was actively engaged across a spectrum of sports until the early 1920s.

Raymie changed during the war years, but not because of war itself. Raymie seemed to run from war and leaving Massachusetts. Newspapers pondered the fate of local amateur sports if the MVM sallied forth for the Mexican Punitive Expedition. Raymie let his enlistment expire. When the U.S. Navy activated him, Raymie requested deferment due to economic hardship. The public figure of post-war Raymie struck a tarnished and exposed figure compared to pre-war Skilton.

Raymie’s hockey career ran into a brick wall after getting blacklisted by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) in 1921. Raymie recruited three Canadians for the Shoe Trades club of the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association. Later, Irving Small revealed that amateur and Olympic athletes would be paid via cigarette tins. A practice fairly common in the New York amateur hockey scene in the 1900s and 10s. The ban was reversed before the start of the 1922 season, and he resumed playing.

This was only one of the many troubles experienced by Raymie Skilton in the post-war years. Court cases for verbally assaulting police officers, reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter assailed Raymie in the 20s. While the courts acquitted him, more legal troubles awaited him in the 30s.

Having lost his leather import business, he worked for a small company called Telenar Corporation in the 40s and 50s. Despite a seemingly quiet time during the 40s, the lawsuits and legal troubles renewed after he acquired patents related to a new metal production process called cold-flow processing. During the months long and very public legal process, he was even accused of offering the patents to Communists in a Mccarthy-era attack.

For all the commotion, Raymie Skilton passed away without much public notice on July 1, 1961. His passing caught the Boston Globe off-guard. They did not report it until February 1962. Eight months later! However, I don’t think the oversight diminishes his accomplishments as one of the first prominent, America-born Offensive Defensemen.

Sun, Feb 25, 1962 – 59 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

The NAHL: Alfred “Ralph” Winsor

With a multitude of accomplishments, The Boston Globe and others bequeathed the mantle of “Father of Modern Hockey” to “Ralph” Winsor Jr.  To summarize, many credit Ralph with the modern hockey stick, skate curve, and effective use of substitution (prior to the on-the-fly line changes of today). In his role as the first American-born college hockey coach, Ralph devised a new tactic specifically to counter Hobey Baker. Ralph shifted the point and cover point to force the forwards to the boards. The tactic was moderately successful in stopping Hobey. To help visualize this shift:

winsorHockey

 

Not only did Ralph modernize hockey, he supported his country in war and hockey.

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The NAHL: Roy D. Schooley

Roy Dunlap Schooley, along with George Brown and Cornelius Fellowes Jr, completed the leadership triumvirate of the newly formed National Amateur Hockey League (NAHL). Like George, Roy came from more humble beginnings as a reporter in Welland, Ontario, Canada. In the early years of hockey, many reporters referreed games in order to get the story. As an independent reporter, Roy took advantage of this common practice. Roy, who apparently had a nose for a story, moved to Pittsburgh in 1901 and took this practice with him.

Outside of New York City and St. Paul, Pittsburgh attracted many Canadian hockey players. Tom Howard even played a few games there. In Pittsburgh, Roy gained renown as a referee. However, his primary means remained reporting. Working for the Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph, he focused on local politics. By 1917, Roy transitioned from a beat reporter to team owner/manager and embedded in the Pittsburgh political circles.

Between 1910 and 1930, Roy held many key city offices while maintaining the premier Pittsburgh hockey team. For example, Roy was the Chief Clerk of the Department of Public Works. These positions provided Roy the freedom to promote amateur hockey in Pittsburgh. In 1926, Roy transitioned the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets from amateur to professional hockey. With this move, Roy destroyed the NAHL and signaled the end of prominence of amateur hockey.

Roy moved through Pittsburgh Republican circles. He leveraged his knowledge of sports promotion to get several mayors elected. They rewarded Roy with the position of City Treasurer. In 1930, scandal wormed through the Republican stronghold. The city treasury came up short and several transactions appeared to be suspicious. Additional investigation identified that city funds lacked critical backing as mandated by law. The federal probe targeted Roy and other key leaders. When prosecutors were ready in 1933, Roy died from a protracted illness, and the embezzlement case against him dropped.

Roy Schooley sought local, national, and international recognition. He found it in Pittsburgh. He brought in one of the strongest teams into a fledgling amateur league. He attracted talent possibly equal to Hobey Baker with Herb Drury. Without Roy Schooley, the NAHL might have been just another New England curioso instead of near national level spectacle.

Tue, Nov 14, 1933 – Page 9 · The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

The NAHL: Cornelius Fellowes Jr.

A rebellious Cornelius Fellowes Jr. hid an unrestrained private life within a very boisterous public life. Descendant from colonial family lines, Cornelius entered into his father’s business, horse racing, possibly more from envy than following tradition. When Cornelius Sr. found out about the marriage to Nathalie Rogers, Senior disinherited Junior and cut off all support. As if in an American fairy tale, Nathalie, and by extension Cornelius Jr., inherited a quarter of million dollars from a deceased uncle in Paris. The unreported marriage, disavowal and windfall  were just the start of Cornelius’ tumultuous adult life.

Cornelius Fellowes Jr. was born to a horse racing magnate in Brooklyn, 1879. Cornelius came into adulthood with a true love, news story that was more about the senior socialite than the son. Written as a socialite intrigue piece, Cornelius quietly eloped with Nathalie Rogers, the daughter of a Philadelphia merchant, “over a year ago” as of June 1900. Between a secretive marriage and possibly acquiring goods under false pretense, Senior disowned Cornelius in June 1900. Fortunately, the death of an uncle depraves Cornelius Senior from punishing his son. True love trumps over money and arranged marriage. But, this isn’t the end of this story.

The article hints at an indecent indiscretion of Young Fellowes. While only hinted at, Cornelius probably got married around 1895 or 1896 at the age of 16 or 17. Nathalie would have been approximately 14 or 15, and quite possibly with their first child, William Fellowes. Although 16 is too young for 1890s New York, it is the legal age for Pennsylvania. When the story was published, Cornelius fathered three children with Nathalie, William, Gertrude, and Celia. The lack of documentation and abbreviating his name for the 1905 census demonstrates Cornelius’ efforts to separate his private life from his public profile.

To reinforce the concept, Cornelius’ divorce and remarriage lacked documentation just like his marriage to Nathalie. When reporters inquired Mademoiselle (mlle) Dazie about her marriage, she remarked that friends knew, but was surprised that the news had not leaked out before. The article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle posted in March 1914. Unlike with Nathalie, no records seem to exist that indicate children between Cornelius and Dazie. Until about 1920, reporters detailed Cornelius Fellowes’ bankruptcies, various dealings and even a suspicious death. Afterwards, the news seem to focus solely on his sporting enterprises. When he passes in August 1957, a small blurb in the New York Times reminds us of how he failed to secure  the great horse “Man o’ War” by a hundred dollars.

Despite all the high profile drama, Cornelius Fellowes Jr. played a significant role in the National Amateur Hockey League. For starters, he sponsored the Fellowes Challenge Cup. That cup symbolized the U.S. national amateur hockey champions until 1926. He managed the St. Nicholas Rink from 1905 until 1920. Additionally, he ran the Wanderers of New York. As a rink and team owner, he was a hand behind the professional as amateurs in that role. Between Cornelius, George Brown, and Roy Schooley, they would forge a hockey powerhouse that would carry to two Olympic silver medals and rival even the Canadian teams.

Research notes:
– Cornelius Fellowes was written as Col. Fellowes on  the 1905 New York Census and  Fellows in some U.S. Government documents and newspaper accounts
– Nathalie Rogers was written as Natalie in some U.S. Government documents and newspaper accounts
– Celia was also written as Consuelo on Census documents
– Mlle Dazie falls prey to the multitude of spellings.

Sources:
1. Ancestry.com. Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
2. The Evening World, New York, New York  09 Jun 1900, Sat  •  Page 5
3. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 07 E.D. 37; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 63. Courtesy of Ancestry.com
4. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York 21 Mar 1914, Sat  •  Page 16
5. Brian McFarlane, Golden Oldies: Stories of Hockey’s Heros, 2015
6.
Cornelius Fellowes, Sportsman, 78, Dies; Lost Bid for Man o’ War by $100 in 1918. (1957). New York Times (1923-Current File), p. 15.

The NAHL: CAPT William Rees Rush

At the start of 1917, Captain William Rees Rush commanded the Navy Yard in Boston and commandant of the First Naval District. He held the position since November, 1914. Although he officially retired on October 16, 1916, the Navy recalled him on October 17, 1916 to continue at Commander, Navy Yard, Boston. The Navy detached him from duty as Commander, First Naval District on February 7, 1918, but retained him as Commandant, Navy Yard. Finally, they retired Captain Rush on March 1919 upon being relieved of duty.  As Commandant, he oversaw many aspects of the Navy Yard and the transition to war. Besides reports of suspicious personnel or fires, he hired George Brown to be the athletic director for the First Naval District and promoted sports. For example, the Y.M.C.A built the first recreational facilities at the Navy Yard under his command. However, this is a small section of Captain Rush’s 43 year career in the United States Navy. And, it is not even the most significant time of his career.

Born in Philadelphia on September 19, 1857, William entered the U.S. Navy as a midshipman in June, 1872. This was not a Naval Academy midshipman appointment. William experienced a more “traditional” navy officer’s education. It lasted nearly ten years until his promotion to ensign in October, 1881.

Officer promotion worked completely different during Captain Rush’s service than now. Currently, promotions from ensign to lieutenant (junior grade) (LTJG) and LTJG to lieutenant (LT) are each two years with a minor review of the officer’s service record. William was promoted to LTJG in February, 1889 and promoted to LT in December, 1893. Ensign to LTJG was eight years and LTJG to LT was only four years. Plus, there were examinations. However, it is difficult to find much information without digging through the Bureau of Navigation or Personnel archives.

After several years at LT, William attended the Navy’s War College in 1900. This duty assignment prepared William for promotion to lieutenant commander (LCDR) in 1901. He also married Jane Pomroy Hare while attending the War College. There’s nearly a month of leave probably because Jane and William married in Hawaii.

In 1909, William was promoted to captain (CAPT). In December 1913, he attached to the Florida (BB-30). In April 1914, BB-30 and CAPT Rush were order to Vera Cruz as part of a expedition to evict General Victoriano Huerta from the Mexican presidency after a coup d’état. Between 21 and 22 April, CAPT Rush led a naval brigade (about 1,600 men) to take Vera Cruz. In about 24 hours, the city was captured with 17 dead and 65 wounded. In December, 1915, CAPT Rush was awarded the Medal of Honor.

After WWI, CAPT Rush and Jane Hare traveled Europe. Eventually, they landed up in Pallanza, Italy. CAPT Rush died on August 2, 1940, just after the fall of France. Jane Hare passes away in Switzerland on August 27, 1947.

As Commandant of the First Naval District, CAPT William Rush promoted sports and competition. It wasn’t limited to hockey, but football and other sports as well. He hired one of the best sports promoters of the era, and likely had a hand in acquiring talent, too. Whether for public relations or a competition against the Second Naval District or concern for the health of sailors, I doubt we’ll ever know. May be it was all three. Without Rush’s appointment of George Brown, we might not have had the first united states hockey league of national preeminence, the United States Amateur Hockey Association.

Sources:
1. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/l/living-conditions-in-the-19th-century-us-navy.html
2. Naval Officer’s Service Record Abstract, National Archives, courtesy of Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/581042150)
3. Confidential War Diaries (of the First Naval District) (1917-1918), National Archives, https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1137572
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Rush
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_William_R._Rush_(DD-714)
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Florida_(BB-30)
7. https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2014/march/take-veracruz-once
8. https://history.army.mil/html/moh/mohmex.html#RUSH

The NAHL: George V. Brown

In late 1917, George V. Brown added a new role to his accomplished list, Athletic Director of the First Naval District. Prior to this, he held the same position of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). With the BAA, he started every Boston Marathon except for the first two. During his era, BAA teams won championships. He promoted sports whenever he got the chance. George was such a fixture in the BAA and Boston sports that the BAA suspended or refocused operations during 1918.

It is hard to tell who used whom. The U.S. Navy leveraged George’s sports promotions to increase its popularity. Quite possibly, the First Naval District hoped to gain an advantage in the regular sports competitions against Second Naval District (Newport, Rhode Island) and others. For George, he became responsible for Navy sports across most of New England.

Following the war, George returned the BAA back to its normal sports operations. A long time member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, George built the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team for the first Winter Olympics in 1924. (NOTE: Cornelius Fellowes created the first Olympic men’s hockey team in 1920.) It was a silver medal team consisting of Herb Drury and Alphonse La Croix.

George also experienced change in hockey from the amateur to the professional. While George supported professional hockey, George believed in the amateur spirit. He tried several times to establish a new amateur league in the Boston after the break up of the US Amateur Hockey Association. In 1932, the Boston Globe commented about George’s efforts to “breathe new life into the amateur hockey corpse.” Despite a potentially 150 registered clubs with the Amateur Athletics Union (AAU), amateur hockey would never regain a prominent role.

Fri, Dec 23, 1932 – 16 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. https://www.baa.org/
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_V._Brown
3. Boston Globe, December 23, 1932, courtesy of newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31905965/
4. Los Angeles Times, March 8, 1931, courtesy of newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/29383315/

The NAHL: 1917, Hockey’s Year of Reckoning

On the eve of WWI, a medal of honor awardee, prominent sports personalities and the best hockeyists in the United States gathered on a world stage.  A legend had been building since the early 1900s starting in the New York City area. That legend, the legend of amateur hockey, came to fruition in 1917. The foundation for the next decade of hockey, both professional and amateur, were laid in that fateful year.

This blog over the next few months will provide brief biographies on key characters. Knowledge known and forgotten will be here in an attempt to provide a more complete picture of the hockeyists and their managers.

To note, amateur hockeyists can’t be paid for playing hockey. So, what were their jobs? Some times, they worked for a sporting goods store, like A. G. Spalding. Other times, they worked as car mechanics. And, as Brian McFarlane discovered, their work really was hockey and not lacing footballs at Spalding [1].

Getting back to the main topic, many will hopefully recognize the key players. From Boston, George V. Brown, Raymie Skilton and Frank Synott will be documented. From the US Navy, CAPT. William R. Rush, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Veracruz [2], plays a role. From Pittsburgh, Roy Schooley, Herbert Drury and the McCormick brothers drive action. Finally, New York’s Mickey Roach and “Duke” Wellington will be outlined. And, yes, Mickey Roach used be a Bostonian.

1917-18 season was a disruptive season for hockey. The creation of the National Hockey League, the infamous Montreal Arena fire [3], and the politics of amateur vs professional hockey that built to a crescendo in that season. The larger than life personalities, the hockeyists and the organizations all vying for control of the final outcome. But, first, we need to know who the entities are, and I hope you enjoy the journey.

Sources:
1. https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Oldies-Stories-Hockeys-Heroes/dp/1770412506
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Rush
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Arena