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.
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