Interlude: Winnipeg’s Forgotten Hockey Royalty, heir apparent Thomas Henry Howard

Despite being a first son of hockey, Thomas Henry Howard left surprisingly few markers resulting in a confusing trail across the ledgers of history. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he really grew up in Brooklyn. As a result, Tom Jr. was actually more of Brooklynite than a Winnipegger. When Canadian and American WW1 demands threatened to ensnarl the Howards, Tom chose his fate by joining the United States Navy Reserve Force. While in the USNRF, Tom played hockey for Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. In all the numerous teams, leagues, and travel, Tom wins his own hockey championship in the California Cal-Pro league in 1930 with the Shell Oil Tigers. Unfortunately, few trail markers remain after 1930 until his death in 1971. Regardless of how his trail meandered, he exemplified, “Family above all.”

Tom Jr. was raised at the table of winter sports. Tom Sr. won the Stanley Cup and reinvented himself in New York and Pittsburgh. Kathleen taught skating in Winnipeg and New York. She possibly taught young Jack how to speed skate. Not to mention, Winnipeg newspaper noted her gracefulness at various winter galas of her youth. But, Tom Jr. seemed to desire a more subdued life.

In many respects, Tom’s father hints at managing his sons like hockey players. Tom Jr. appears to start referring during the 1912-1913 season. Then, Tom moves to playing in the 1913-1914 season. However, news coverage seems to increase when Jack matures into amateur hockey by 1916. At this time, everyone is reading about WWI, and the Howards are still Canadian and subjects of the King of England.

Looking at the available facts, Tom joined the USNRF in Newport, Rhode Island in part due to patriotic pride for the United States. Additionally, other reasons may have influenced Tom Jr’s and Jack’s decisions to join the USNRF. Regardless of the motivation, Tom played in the USN hockey league for the Newport (R.I.) and Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yards. The US Navy trained Tom to play with mines. Tom and his brother, Jack, was assigned to the U.S.S. Canandaigua. They possibly particpated in the North Sea mine barrage. Whether they went with the fleet, Tom referred a Brookleny high school hockey game on 11 Jan, 1919.

After the death of his brother Jack in Dec 1919, Tom moved to California and married Natalie Matthews. Listing a California home address, Tom Jr. continued to play for his father’s teams on the East Coast from 1920 until 1924. During the late-twenties, he played for a variety of teams until landing on the 1930 Shell Oil Tigers team. Under Ernie Miller, the Shell Oil Tigers team beat the Vancouver Ballards to secure the CalPro championship. In 1949, Los Angeles Monarchs honored Tom Howard Jr and four others for bringing hockey to California. All the while, Tom and Natalie ensured the care of their parents.

From census records, Natalie’s father and then Tom’s parents lived with them in California. Natalie’s father moved from New York to be recorded in a 1920 California Census. When the next census happened in 1930, Tom’s parents, Tom Sr. and Kathleen, had moved in. From all the travels between New York and California, Tom Jr. appears to have supported his family’s decisions and supported the decisions of the family he married. As a result, it appears that he believed in family above all else.

the 1949’s tribute is really the last easy marker that Tom and Natalie Howard leave. A phone book entry here or may be a property records there. Tom died in Denver, Co. in 1971 and Natalie died in June of 1986. They died childless. Thus, with their deaths, ended the line of hockey greats.

Sources:
1. Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, Birth Record: 1894-002467, http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Query.php, last accessed 12 Aug 2018
2. The New York Times, Sunday, January 26, 1913 pg 69, courtesy of newspapers.com
3. Hartford Courant Thursday, March 5, 1914 pg 16, courtesy of newspapers.com
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Canandaigua_(ID-1694)
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_Mine_Barrage
6. Brooklyn Eagle, Saturday, January 11, 1919, pg 8, courtesy of newspapers.com
7. “California, County Marriages, 1850-1952,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8FB-YBP : 8 December 2017), Thomas Henry Howard and Natalie Matthews, 19 May 1921; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,074,267.
8. San Bernardino County Sun (California), Wednesday, January 16, 1924, pg 9, courtesy of newspapers.com
9. Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1949, courtesy of ProQuest.
10. “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JTHC-HM7 : 19 May 2014), Thomas Howard, Nov 1977; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
11. “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J1B8-5YD : 20 May 2014), Natalie Howard, Mar 1987; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

Other Sources:

http://www.squareone.org/PolarPalace/palais.html

Interlude: Winnipeg’s Forgotten Hockey Royalty, “Young Prince” Jack

John Frederick Howard, born in Dec 1896, was probably too young to remember much about Winnipeg before the Howard’s moved to New York. However, Canada, and winter sports, never left him. He was the youngest child of hockey’s first royal family, after all.

John, often referred to as “Jack”, gained some minor fame for speed skating at St. Nicholas Rink in 1912. A competition of skill and speed between Jack and the Gerschel (or Gershel) brothers, Arthur and Stanley, from Public School 166. Unfortunately, Jack’s skating exploits don’t appear to make news until 1917. Jack may have gone to Public School 155 or 153 and Manual, now known as John Jay. So, more records may be available from “The Prospect”, Manual’s Yearbook.

In 1917, Jack joins “The Hockey Club” along with his older brother Tom Howard, Jr. The Hockey Club was one of the four amateur teams in New York’s Metropolitan League. The winner would face the winner of Boston’s amateur league. Ultimately, the Hockey Club lost the 1917 season with 2 Wins – 4 Losses. Jack played in four games with three goals and no penalty minutes. Penalties appears to be one area where Jack did not follow his brother.

After the fateful season for the Hockey Club, Jack participated in an event sponsored by the Canadian Club of New York. The event was a charity drive for the Lady Drummond Hospital fund for Canadian soldiers. Activities at the event included figure skating. But, the highlight was the hockey game between the All-Stars and the Crescent. The event took place on March 21, 1917, prior to the United States joining the war.  The entire Howard family participated in some way, and Jack’s role was Goal Umpire. The event netted $502.

By October 1917, Jack enlisted in the Navy Reserves along with his brother. They both played on the Newport Navy Yard team in the US Navy Hockey League (USNHL), which played with other amateur leagues with approval from the Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.). Because of the approval of the A.A.U., USNHL players had full amateur status like their Canadian cousins.

Retaining amateur status for amateur hockey players who enlisted caused much debate in Canada. Amateur hockey players, moreso than other amateur sportspeople, lead dual lives. They play hockey at night and work by day. However, that work can’t pay to play, like hockey stick endorsement. They can be hockey coaches and write books. Tom”Attie” Howard landed in some hot water with the A.A.U. over his stick endorsement. Additionally, amateur hockey was viewed as the future. In a way, maintaining status was critical. The ruling handed down as military (officer and enlisted) who were amateur hockey players were allowed to keep their amateur status.

By initial accounts, Jack’s time with Newport Naval Reserves  hockey team resulted in two games and six goals. However, this is not a complete picture of the 1918 season. Jack was involved in a brawl between Charleston Navy Yard and New York Wanders’ Bill McGill. Jack, like his father who also participated in the brawl, were spectators.

Jack tragecally died after a car accident in Dec 1919. He was riding on the toolbox of Tom’s car when it was hit. Jack got up after the accident but apparently had massive internal injuries. They buried him on Christmas Eve, 1919. Jack born a hockey player; died as an insurance rep.

It’s not clear, but Jack’s death likely had a significant impact on his family. Shortly after, Press coverage of the Howard’s drastically reduces even from “home town” papers like Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Tom Jr. moves to California. While Mrs. Howard vansishes from nearly eve. I’m sure that part of the reason was the changing nature of hockey from amateur to professional and seven to six man. 1919 marks a changing in old guard of hockey.

John's deathJohn’s death Mon, Dec 22, 1919 – Page 3 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

*NOTE: Jack is a common nickname for John in the United States. Other famous John’s named Jack include John F. Kennedy (35th President), John Lemmon (Actor), and John Lambert (NFL).
*NOTE: John Jay High School on 7th Ave was dismantled in 2004.
*NOTE: The Canadian Club of New York merged with another Canadian Society. The merged entity is called the Canadian Association of New York.
Read More

Interlude: Winnipeg’s Forgotten Hockey Royalty, “Queen” Kathleen Howard

While many aspects remain in mystery, Kathleen Howard’s advocacy for women’s hockey is unquestionable. Her abilities and circumstances paved a way for to become the United States first female hockey coach.

A Winnipeg native, she was born Kathleen Cronn or Crown in 1874. Prior to her marriage, she taught ice skating and participated in various Winnipeg Carnivals*. On May 13, 1893, she married Tom Howard, which started the “first family” of hockey. The family was complete with the birth of their two boys, Tom Jr. and John “Jack”. When they moved to Brooklyn in 1900, she brought hockey with her, and specifically for women.

Kathleen’s advocacy sprang to life in 1917 with the pronouncement, “Hockey for Women is not a Novelty.” While women played hockey in the United States during the “teens”, she noted that New York City women seemed to have forgotten about hockey. She also penned an article on women’s hockey for Spalding’s Official Ice Hockey Guide 1917, which Tom Howard edited.

Kathleen howard on hockey
Kathleen howard on hockey Thu, Feb 8, 1917 – Page 22 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

She coached St. Nick’s women’s teams for at least two seasons, 1916-17 and 1917-18. In the 1916-1917 season, she took over for her husband in December, 1916. In 1918, she arranged a charity hockey match with Boston to help the employees after the Brooklyn Ice Palace was ordered closed. Not to say that women’s hockey died after 1918. As a matter of fact, women’s hockey enjoyed great success through the 1920s and 1930s. However, Kathleen seems to drop out of the news after 1918.

Some of this may be due to imperfect records and inconsistent reporting. For example, Manitoba lists three birth certificates for two boys, 2 for Thomas and 1 for John. Each certificate has a different name including an incorrect last name, Cronner. The Winnipeg Tribune constantly reports her last name as “Cronn” whereas government records lists “Crown”. After getting married, she is almost exclusively referred to as “Mrs. Tom Howard” or a variation thereof. As a result, a shroud of mystery wraps Kathleen. In reality, the biggest reason is due to what happened to Jack in 1919.

Somewhere around 1927, She and Tom move to California to live with their son, Tom Jr. She outlived her husband, who dies in November 1945. However, her own death is as ellusive as her legacy.

Her greatest feat wasn’t getting married to a star hockey player and coach. It wasn’t raising two upcoming stars of the amateur hockey world. Her greatest feat was being the first woman to coach hockey in the United States, and quite possibly Canada, too. Of course, Kathleen may disagree and say that seeing women in professional hockey was her greatest legacy.

*Note: Carnival events included hockey, ice skating, curling, and dressing up. Kathleen was noted for her costumes in 1891 (gypsy queen) and 1892 (faerie).

Read More

Interlude: CEF Goes to Hockey

While both Canada and United Sates militaries participated in sports before and after WWI, their participation in hockey did not emerge until recruitment impacted the amateur hockey world.

When the war started in August 1914, the Canadian military needed to modernize overnight, including raising a force. In 1914, Canada was in recession and unemployment was high. Additionally, patriotism surged amongst the general populace. As a result, there was a large willing and available manpower pool to resource units.

While notable hockey players trickled into CEF units between August, 1914 and August, 1915, a shocker came when the entire Selkirk hockey joined the 61st Battalion in September, 1915. However, this wasn’t reason why the CEF jumped into amateur hockey. It was the reason why it took off.

Richard Holt lays out how the CEF built units. In general, once a unit was authorized (or sponsored in the case of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), recruiting would happen locally. The unit would also stay in garrison until initial training was complete, which was usually four months. Sports provided an outlet for those waiting for their unit to reach full strength. So, it wasn’t that the 61st waited  for hockey; hockey forced itself on to the 61st.

With the Selkirk team on hand, the 61st had a strong team and the Winnipeg leagues were voted to be playing for the Allan Cup. In the teens and twenties, the Allan Cup was possibly more popular than the Stanley Cup. One reason was that amateur hockey was more popular than professional hockey. And, The Allan Cup was for Amateurs only. As soon as newspapers reported on the 61st Battalion’s entrance to amateur hockey, other units submitted their application, including the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), the 40th Battery (Conn Smythe’s unit), the 94th Battalion (Thunder Bay) and many others. At least 24 CEF units participated in various amateur hockey leagues for the 1915-1916 season. (Note: a table of units is below.)

The 61st Battalion won the Allan Cup and defended the title throughout the 1916 season. In April, the 61st Battalion was declared the champions and shipped off to war. In addition to the 61st Battalion in the senior league, the 61st’s intermediate team won their league’s championship and the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadian) won the Winnipeg Central Hockey Associations’ championship title. These successes on the ice led to increased CEF participation in hockey, which led to the creation of the Military Hockey League for 1916-1917.

Nearly every CEF unit participated in the 1916-1917 season. Most (in)famously, the 228th under the McNamara brothers attempted to repeat the 61st’s success, except in the N.H.A. However, scandals and a strict adherence to deployment schedules interrupted the 228th’s chance. By 1918, the United States military supported hockey teams. Thomas “Tom” Howard Jr and John “Jack” Howard played for several U.S. Navy teams.

With the popularity of hockey in the late-teens, a lingering question remains on if the military recruited hockey players for hockey (promote support or recruitment) or war. The 228th supposedly offered Eddie Oatman $1200 to play hockey, but was unceremoniously dismissed two days prior to the 228th leaving for the front. Oatman claimed to have never been enlisted or properly enlisted. In contrast, the Howard brothers joined the Naval Reserve in 1917. Tom Jr. was passed from Newport Naval Yard to Charleston Naval Yard solely for hockey. In regards to the CEF, J.J. Wilson suggests that the CEF targeted hockey players for recruitment. While Wilson’s reasons may be contentious, it is clear the CEF appealed to hockey players to join. Captain  James Sutherland wrote an open letter and closed with the words “The whistle has sounded. Let every man play ‘the greatest game of his life’.”

Fri, Dec 31, 1915 – 12 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Read More

Interlude: The Army Plays as Pros

In Canada and the United States, several military units created hockey teams. Most of these either played in a special military league or affiliated with an amateur league for cross-league play. However, one unit, the Toronto 228th Battalion, applied for a National Hockey Association franchise. The 228th became the first, and possibly the last, military unit with a professional sports team.

The 228th applied for franchise in September 1916 for winter 1917. At the time, hockey seasons ran from late December until March. The 228th was granted status in the NHA for the 1916-1917 season. But, this wasn’t without controversy.

Many of the players for the 228th, Northern Fusiliers, came from another NHA entity, the Torontos, aka Toronto Blueshirts. The 228th, being based in Toronto, received many of the Torontos players when they enlisted. Even before the season started the Torontos’ owner, Eddie Livingstone, filed grievances with the NHA over players. The NHA ultimately decided in favor of the 228th.

The 228th had a star-studded cast of professionals. Some went on to serve bravely. George and Howard McNamara were known as the “Dynamite Twins”. While known as powerful men on the ice, they served in the Canadian Railway Troops (CRT) in France and rose to the rank of Major. George “Goldie” Prodgers rose to Company Sergeant Major with the 6th CRT. A few were embroiled in as much turmoil as the 228th.

Gordon Meeking and Eddie Oatman created as much controversy as the 228th entering into professional sports. Gordon Meeking was more unlucky than anything else. He entered with the 228th on September, 1916; only to be discharged on February 10, 1917. It wasn’t the end of his military career. He was drafted under the Military Service Act in late 1917. Finally, Meeking was discharged as medically unfit in 1918. During his brief break in service, the NHA and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) bickered over whether to allow Meeking and Oatman to play.

Unlike Meeking, Eddie Oatman caused his own trouble. He started by publicly claiming he never was in the 228th. Furthermore, he claimed that the 228th owed him $800, assuming CAD, as a professional hockey player. Additionally, Livingstone claimed to have proof that Oatman was never in the 228th. Thankfully, Oatman’s service record is available from the Library and Archives Canada. He signed his attestation papers on November 1. Subsequently, he was discharged on February 10, 1917 as “not likely to become an efficient soldier”. Therefore, It is not clear, at this time, what was presented to the NHA regarding Oatman’s time with the 228th.

Meeking and Oatman represent the most public cases of the hockey players turned soldiers who left behind. NHA chose not to ban them from hockey. They were playing with the PCHA by December. However, it is not clear if the ban would have been effective. The PCHA was a separate league. Second, the NHA was collapsing and about to be replaced by the NHL.

As it transitioned overseas, the 228th broke up. This was part of the odd system of reinforcement. The major hockey players seemed to have been assigned to the Railway Troops in theater. Unfortunately, time wasn’t available to verify the full team roster or player aftermath. The McNamaras lived a long life with George passing away in 1952. But, the 228th’s transition also was a portent of NHL’s tumultuous start.

Read More

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) · Newspapers.com

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) · Newspapers.com

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) · Newspapers.com

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) · Newspapers.com

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.

https://www.hobeybaker.com/

Source:
1. A Flame that Bured too Brightly: Hobey Baker. Fimrite, Ron. Sports Illustrated. August 20, 2014. https://www.si.com/college-football/2014/08/20/hobey-baker-si-60-ron-fimrite

Interlude: Winnipeg’s Forgotten Hockey Royalty, the Howards

Attempting to repeat 1895, the Winnipeg Jets are trying to upset strong favorites in order to win the 2018 Stanley Cup. In Dec 1895, the Winnipeg Victorias amateur hockey club bested Montreal to secure the cup with a team that became known as “the Winnipeg Seven”. While some fame befell the Winnipeg Seven, Thomas Acheson “Attie” Howard stands out due to his very publicized move to Yale. However, hockey was a family affair for the Howards.

While Thomas Howard’s journey started in 1871, not much was able to be discovered about his early years. Tom’s first appearance is an unassuming marriage announcement to Kathleen Cronn in the May 1893 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune. A couple of years later, Thomas Howard, Jr. came into the world in 1895. Finally, Jack T. Howard completed hockey’s royal family in 1897.

The list of Tom’s accomplishments only started with winning Lord Stanley’s “Challenge Cup” in Dec 1895. In 1899, Tom agreed to become Yale’s head coach of Men’s Ice Hockey. In the 20’s, he joined Spalding to sell sticks and become the editor of Spalding Official Ice Hockey Guide, an almanac on hockey and winter sports. By 1927, Tom and Kathleen retired to Tom Jr’s place in Los Angeles. A lone obituary in the Winnipeg Tribune on 30 Nov, 1945 noted the passing of Tom “Attie” Howard on the 18th. But, this wouldn’t be a story on family if it was only about Tom.

In New York City, Kathleen Howard came into her own as possibly hockey’s first female coach. Noted as “Mrs. Tom Howard” in most newspaper articles, she argued that hockey was for women. Mrs. Howard clearly coached the St. Nick’s Reds throughout the teens. It’s not clear when things changed.

In April 1918, Kathleen organized a hockey match between St. Nick’s and a Boston team with all proceeds going to the employees of the Brooklyn Ice Palace. The Brooklyn Ice Palace created ice using a mechanical process and ammonia. A State Ice Controller ordered the ice rink to close to save materials for the war effort. While the Brooklyn Ice Palace eventually reopened and the St. Nick’s Reds started playing again, Mrs. Howard seemed to fade into the background. She moved to California with her husband and passed away in 1954.

Newspapers gushed over Tom and Kathleen’s kids, Tom Jr. and Jack. From all accounts, Tom limited Junior’s playing due to a possible heart condition. When Tom Jr played, commentators praised his ability. Unfortunately, few articles mention Jack. One of Jack’s last mentions was in an article about how he and his brother played for a Boston amateur team in the mid-20s.

In the midst of the twenties, Tom Jr. married Natalie Matthews. They eventually move to Los Angeles, where they end up taking care of their parents. Tom H. Howard possibly passes away in the 60s, but Natalie lived until 92 (1987).

This only touched upon highlights of, possibly, the first royal family of hockey. Most amazingly is the story of Kathleen Howard. She brought the tradition of women’s hockey from Canada to New York City and Boston. She started a team and organized games. She, quite possibly, was the first female hockey coach in the United States.

Unfortunately, deep mysteries abound. What happened to Jack/John T Howard after Boston? Did Tom Jr. and Natalie have children? For now, the Winnipeg Jets have a chance again to go for the Cup, and recreate the magic of the 1895 Winnipeg Victorias.

Interlude: Women’s Hockey during the Great War

While looking for more information on professional hockey players who served in WWI, a New York Times article on Girl’s hockey was buried in the search results. The article, “Girl’s hockey in brooklyn tonight”, stated that Mrs. Tom Howard would lead an exhibition game and other activities in support of the Ice Rink’s (Brooklyn Ice Palace) employees. The game occurred on April 13th, 1917.  The rink closed on the 14th. Although the news article didn’t explain, a Brooklyn Library blogger stated the rink was ordered to shut down to save on ammonia, which is used in creating artificial ice and munitions. But the information begged a bigger question. Who is Mrs. Tom Howard and How popular was women’s hockey in WWI.

As the NHL was finishing its century of hockey, women’s hockey is starting to pick back up. again. In honor of the WNHL, The Bustle published a great high level history of women’s hockey. For a more detailed look, Lynda Baril published a great book on women’s hockey in Quebec. And, Andrew Holman detailed the issues surrounding women’s hockey in 1920s. Currently, the Canadian Women’s Hockey  League (CWHL) and National Women’s Hockey Leage (NWHL) pay their players harkening back to the early 1900s.

Going back to the first question, Mrs. Thomas A. Howard hasn’t revealed herself, yet. Thomas Acheson “Attie” Howard is fairly well documented. A Stanley Cup winner with the Winnipeg Victorias, he moved to New York in 1899. He eventually ended up endorsing a hockey stick and writing a book on hockey and winter sports for Spaulding Co. He had two son, Thomas Jr. and Jack. Finally, he died in Los Angeles in 1945. In all of the documentation reviewed, there is only a “Howard, wife” (1920 New York Census) or Mrs. Thomas A. Howard (NYT, April 13 1917). Even his death certificate doesn’t list his wife or sons. For now, the mystery of Mrs. Thomas A. Howard remains. Hopefully, I’ll learn more about women’s hockey in uncovering her identity.

Background Reading:
1. Women’s National Hockey League: https://www.nwhl.zone/
2. Canadian Women’s Hockey League: http://www.thecwhl.com/
3. https://www.bustle.com/articles/115804-the-history-of-womens-ice-hockey-is-long-full-of-even-longer-skirts-heres

Read More

Interlude: Hockey Goes to War

While I’m chasing down information related to CMPC locations, personnel and operations, I ran across an interesting topic Hockey and the Canadian military. The trigger was statement lamenting the inability to play hockey in the rear areas of the Great War. Unfortunately, I’ve seem to have lost the reference. However, I’ve found some other interesting articles about hockey, Canada,and WWI.

For Canada, many hockey players entered the ranks of the Canadian military. So much so, Canada created the “Memorial Cup” to remember those who served. The “Memorial Cup” is awarded to the junior hockey champions in the Canadian Hockey League.

Hockey is so integral to Canadians that the 148th Battalion ran two recruiting posters featuring hockey. (NOTE: I have no statistics to determine the success of the posters.) Additionally, Canadians played hockey while interned in Switzerland.

Finally, as Canada was dismantling from WWI, the Royal Military College requested 2000 (CAD) to refit two aviation hangers for hockey. The Privy Council issued Order of Council 1919-2040 to authorize it.

There is more to this story. JJ Wilson, CBC, and others have delved into greater detail. Canada’s Veterans Affairs even created a lesson plan to raise awareness on the close relationship between Hockey, the Canadian military and remembering those hockey players who’ve died in the line of duty.

Sources:
1. http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/those-who-served/hockey-canadian-military
2. http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/those-who-served/hockey-canadian-military/history
3. JJ Wilson (2007) Skating to Armageddon: Canada, Hockey and the First World War, The International Journal of the History of Sport, 22:3, 315-343, DOI: 10.1080/09523360500048746
4. List of Recruiting Posters: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/msscfa/sc23360-canada-recruit.htm
5. Order of Council 1919-2040: http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=ordincou&id=386631&lang=eng
6. Image of Canadian hockey team, Switzerland 1917: http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=fonandcol&id=3386118&lang=eng

Additional Sources:
1. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/hockey-and-the-first-world-war-1.2831318
2. 148th Battalion Recruitig poster: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/170081323398051922/
3. 148th Battalion Recruitig poster: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/170081323398051922/