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: Joseph Wallace McCormick

The adventurous Joseph “Joe” Wallace McCormick chased achievement with a principled determination that resulted in multiple hockey championships and an Olympic Silver. Unlike previous players discussed, Joe captained the Pittsburgh All-stars, who were the Navy’s biggest rivals in the National Amateur Hockey League (NAHL). But, Joe was not satisfied with playing top tier amateur hockey. He sought a career in hockey, and something else.

The middle child, Joe sprouted forth on August 12th, 1894 in Buckingham, Quebec. A small town near Ottawa, which is now incorporated into Gatineau. In 1914/15, Joe played for the Buckingham Seniors prior to a move to Cleveland. Joe did not stay long in Cleveland. By the 1915/16 season, Joe established himself in Pittsburgh and became well familiar with Roy Schooley. Like Chippie Gaw, Joe pursued higher education goals while playing hockey. He achieved that goal, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, after the 1920 Olympics. When Joe arrived in Pittsburgh, I doubt he believed a World War would interrupt those studies.

From 1915/16 until 1921/22 season, Joe stayed amateur and remained a student in Pittsburgh. During this time, Joe is at the height of his playing career. The Pittsburgh All-stars, or Yellow Jackets, exert dominance over the local hockey and, then, at the national level in the newly formed US Amateur Hockey Association. In 1918 , Joe and three others from the Pittsburgh All-stars join the U.S. Army. Although they never go farther east than Philadelphia, the Army lacks a top tier hockey team. After the war, he captained the 1920 Men’s US Olympic hockey team in Antwerp to a Silver medal. Despite these successes, Joe refused to be content.

Over the course of the next decade, Joe sought an elusive goal. First, he spent a season with the St. Paul Saints in Minnesota. Then, he traveled west. He played with the Edmonton Eskimos (Western Canada Hockey League) and the resurgent Portland Rosebuds (Western Hockey League). Both of these teams and leagues roiled in scandal and financial turmoil until collapse in 1926. On these teams, Joe still sought something that was not available to amateur hockey.

In 1926, Joe moved back to St. Paul to play for the Saints. By this time, the USAHA and amateur hockey collapsed from prominence in the United States. St. Paul and several other teams created a minor professional league, the American Hockey Association (AHA). Joe spent only one season with St. Paul before moving to the Kansas City Pla-mors. The AHA stirred controversy that impacted many players lives. In a challenge to the NHL, the AHA attempted to create a team in Buffalo. Frank Calder declared the AHA to be an unsanctioned league and barred their players from joining the NHL. While several AHA player applications were rejected, Joe possibly did not apply or try-out for an NHL team.

Joe retired after the 1931/32 season. By 1934, he and his wife moved to Sudbury, Ontario. Although Joe traveled and explored, he never left Buckingham until he moved to Sudbury. He lived in Pittsburgh. He became a U.S. citizen. He played hockey on the West Coast. But, he never left Buckingham. On the 1929 marriage certificate, he listed Buckingham as his place of residence, and not Kansas City. For all his adventures, I think he always wanted a single place to call home.

When it came to marriage, Joe refused to settle for less. Joe married Ann Margaret McArthur on November 6, 1929. Ann Margaret was the daughter of James Joseph McArthur, the famous Canadian explorer. Additionally, they faithfully practiced Catholicism. On the surface, he found someone just as daring yet rooted as himself. After moving to Sudbury, they had two children, D’arcy and Lawrence James. Joe passed away in 1958. While I’m sure that Joe settled, I’m not sure if Joe ever achieved that elusive goal.

Wed, Dec 31, 1924 – 14 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Sources:
1. Joe McCormick, SIHR database. https://www.sihrhockey.org/member_player_sheet.cfm?player_id=21779. (Note: Requires Paid Account.)
2. James Joseph McArthur. Wikipedia.
3. University of Pittsburgh. Wikipedia.
4. Multiple newspapers, (Nanaimo, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, etc.) courtesy of newspapers.com