Eddie Shore was the Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb of hockey, a brilliant player with an unmatched temper. Emerging from the Canadian prairie to become a member of the Boston Bruins in 1926, the man from Saskatchewan invaded every circuit in the NHL like a runaway locomotive on a downgrade. Hostile fans turned out in droves with a wish to see him killed, but in Boston he could do no wrong.
During his twenty-year professional career, the controversial Shore personified "that old time hockey" like no other, playing the game with complete disregard for his own safety. Shore was one of the most penalized men in the NHL, and also a perennial member of its All Star Team. A dedicated athlete, Shore won the Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player four times — a record for a defenseman not since matched — and led Boston to two Stanley Cups in 1929 and 1939. In 1933, Shore was the instigator of hockey’s most infamous event, the tragic "Ace Bailey Incident," and during his subsequent sixteen-game suspension the fans chanted, "We want Shore!" After retiring from the NHL in 1940, Shore’s passion for the game remained undiminished, and as owner and tyrant of the AHL Springfield Indians, he won championship after championship.
This is an action-packed and full-throated celebration of the "mighty Eddie Shore" — and also of the sport of hockey as it was gloriously played in a bygone age.
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C. MICHAEL HIAM was born in 1962 in Boston and came of age as a hockey fan at the height of the Bobby Orr era, when there were no Bruins tickets to be found. As an undergraduate, however, he both played hockey and attended as many Bruins games as he could. Today, Hiam is a licensed psychologist in New York and Massachusetts, and has authored and co-authored a number of scientific articles. In 2006, his first book, a biography of a CIA analyst active during the Vietnam War, Who the Hell Are we Fighting? The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars, was published by Steerforth Press. Today, Hiam lives in Newton, MA, with his wife and three children, and on Saturday mornings is an assistant coach for the Newton Youth Hockey Association.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The Montreal Forum, built in 1924 specifically for that greatest of sports, ice hockey, was a place where both French and English Montrealers could come together to yell, jostle, bet, fight, argue, and drink as one people—at least when the despised Bruins came to town. The Forum could hold more than eleven thousand spectators (in a tight fit), two hundred red-capped ushers, and as many plainclothes and undercover police officers as were deemed necessary. Thousands of fans that day, November 23, 1929, had spent hours outside in a line for tickets, keeping warm by lighting small bonfires, and now, once inside, they joined other spectators who were settling themselves into the expensive box seats, the regular seats, the overflow seats, the standing-room areas, the windowsills, and, for a spectacularly good view, the rafters. Everyone was in a boisterous mood, particularly those at the far end of the rink who had paid fifty cents for the right to “rush” the wooden benches of “Millionaires’ Row.” The Forum’s wooden benches held only two thousand, but there was always room for one more because there was always one more who could be pushed to the floor.
The Montreal Maroons were playing the roughest kind of game against Boston that night, and taking advantage of the roughness were Reginald “Hooligan” Smith and Dave Trottier, both having decided to make a sandwich out of Eddie Shore and, while they were at it, to give him plenty of the butt ends of their sticks. The crowd roared its approval at this, and seconds later roared even louder when Shore was sent reeling to the Forum’s near-perfect sheet of ice. Shore groggily picked himself up, blood spurting from his eyes, and the manager of the Bruins, Art Ross, rapped his fists violently against the boards of the rink to get Shore’s attention. Ross demanded he go off for repairs, but Shore refused, insisting on remaining in the game. When the Forum fans saw that Eddie was going to stick it out, they greeted this display of raw courage with hoots and cheers in both French and English.
The whistle blew, play resumed, and Shore dashed into combat again and was met by the Maroons’ up-raised sticks. Two well-placed jabs to his face tore open his cheek and sliced deeply into his chin. Then the Maroons dropped all pretense of civility and really let Shore have it. “He was,” according to an observer, “hammered, pounded, cut; and just at the end, a Maroon player cut across Shore and deliberately gave him a sickening smash in the mouth, which knocked out several teeth and felled the Bruin in his tracks.” The final wallop was delivered by Babe Siebert, and it sent Shore reeling to the ice once again. This time, though, Shore did not get up; he lay motionless in a pool of his own blood and teeth.
Montrealers were the most sophisticated hockey fans in the world, and they knew true talent when they saw it, even if that talent wore the hated brown and yellow of the Boston Bruins. And so, as Shore, apparently dead, was borne away, everyone in the Forum rose in respect, putting their hands together in polite applause. Meanwhile, the referee, naturally, had been looking in some other direction and missed everything. Siebert and the rest of the Maroons escaped without penalty.
Five minutes after the game ended, the legendary Montreal hockey writer Elmer Ferguson ventured into the visitors’ dressing room to see if Shore really had been killed. To his relief, Ferguson was told that the Bruin was still among the living. He found Shore “standing silently beneath the showers. Expecting an outburst I said, ‘Rough going, Eddie.’ Through bloody, swollen lips he answered laconically, ‘It’s all in the game. I’ll pay off.’”
Eddie Shore was one tough hombre, and he got his moxie from his upbringing in the “wilds” of Canada. “I have heard him talk,” the Boston sports columnist Austen Lake wrote in 1934, “with a trace of suspicious mist in his eye and a faraway look, about the winter moon over the tips of fir forests and the frozen void of nature that fairly throbs with loneliness, in which the distant howl of a wolf was a perfect soul note.”
In reality, Eddie grew up far removed from any trees, fir or otherwise, because in the heart of Saskatchewan, where he was born in 1902, trees had yet to be planted. Most of the land had also yet to be tilled, and back then the area was a barren but beautiful landscape covered by grass so short that when Shore was a little boy it barely came up to his knees. In the wintertime, the wind whipped across the prairie and a small Eddie, aged five and heading out to the unheated barn to milk the cows, could feel its cold sting.
Eddie Shore’s paternal grandparents were among the first European settlers in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle Valley, arriving from Ontario in 1870. Those were the days of roaming buffalo, of Indian teepees, of Hudson’s Bay Company trading posts, and the watchful (of the Americans to the south) eye of the North-West Mounted Police.
Made a province in 1905, Saskatchewan was bristling with opportunity, and the Canadian Pacific Railway was luring immigrants from eastern North America and Europe with the promise of free land if they would settle the prairie; thousands were taking the railway up on its offer. By 1910, when Eddie was eight years old, his father, Thomas John “T.J.” Shore, had moved his wife, Kate, sons Aubrey and Eddie, and daughters Lizzy and Irene from Fort Qu’Appelle in the valley to a newly opened area twenty miles northwest. The son of pioneers, and therefore not an average homesteader, T.J. had a jump-start on everyone else, and in only a few short years he somehow leveraged his quarter-section (160-acre) allotment into a ranch of nearly seventy thousand acres, thirty-five miles wide and thirty-six miles long. The Shore place held four hundred head of horses and six hundred head of cattle; the operation produced 100,000 bushels of wheat and shipped 100 to 150 head of stock a year. The enterprise was worth at least half a million dollars, making Eddie’s father the richest man in the district.
Of Irish Protestant stock, T.J. Shore embodied the work ethic, and he made sure that his two sons, Eddie and Eddie’s older brother, Aubrey, did too. Under his harsh tutelage, the boys were never idle. As they grew older, the chores became ever more onerous until there were, it seemed, a dozen tasks, such as wheat harvesting, wood chopping, stock tending, and team driving, all of which had to be done before bedtime.
To help their work on the ranch, the two boys were taught to ride almost as soon as they could walk. At age seven, Eddie had his own horse, and soon he was breaking in ponies and starting to display a unique ability to endure great pain. When he was nine years old, one of these ponies refused to be tamed, and, with Eddie aboard, the animal reared back and then suddenly snapped forward. The boy’s face slammed into the animal’s head and he held on for dear life. Spinning in the saddle with a bloody and broken nose, he could hear a friend’s voice yelling in encouragement, “‘Stick it out, Eddie, stick it out!’” remembered Shore years later, “And I stuck it out.”
At twelve, Eddie was driving four-horse teams to the grain elevators in nearby Cupar, and folks in town noticed that T.J.’s young son possessed unusual strength. Eddie became known as the boy wonder who could remove a thousand-pound grain tank from a wagon unassisted, and who could also work in the wheat fields like a grown man and never wilt. At thirteen, Eddie, with his six-shooter at his side and a rifle across his lap for good measure, was entrusted by his father to herd the family’s prize horses to a distant grazing area. During one trip, he put the rifle to his shoulder and laid out warning shots to keep some strangers at bay. Word of this incident got back to the ranch, and T.J. found no cause to censure his son. At fourteen, he was taking on his father’s broncos, and these four-legged outlaws reared and stamped and lunged wildly in an effort to toss him clear into the next county. At fifteen, Eddie was an expert roper, and he could make the hemp loop spin at his wish—but not without incident. A steer once dragged him a quarter of a mile at the end of a lasso before he let go. At sixteen, he was riding herd on thousands of cattle and rounding up strays.
Eddie was competitive; he had to be, with a brother two years older who wanted to keep him in his place. One day, the two of them were doing some barnyard work when Eddie became tired of being bossed around by Aubrey. A tussle developed over who would use the spade and who would use the pitchfork. Aubrey, like his father, wouldn’t countenance any insubordination, and punched his little brother solidly in the mouth. Stunned, Eddie shook his head to clear his brain, then caught his older brother flush on the nose with a direct hit.
“For the next twenty or so minutes,” Shore said, “we went around and around, knocking each other down time and again, but neither could put the other away, nor would either of us give up.”
The brothers wrestled on the dusty earth, both hoping to land the knockout punch, but they were too much in each other’s clutches for either of them to break away and execute the final blow. Exhausted, dirty, and bloody, Eddie and Aubrey had to settle for a draw. Their father had calmly witnessed whole thing. “I hope you two are satisfied,” T.J. said. “Now get back to work.”
T.J. was a stern disciplinarian, and if it was for the good of his boys, he was not afraid to apply the sting of the whip. He also had a temper and, if provoked, could administer a sou...
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Book Description McClelland and Stewart Limited, Toronto, 2010. Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Eddie Shore was the Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb of hockey, a brilliant player with an unmatched temper. Emerging from the Canadian prairie to become a member of the Boston Bruins in 1926, the man from Saskatchewan invaded every circuit in the NHL like a runaway locomotive on a downgrade. Hostile fans turned out in droves with a wish to see him killed, but in Boston he could do no wrong. During his twenty-year professional career, the controversial Shore personified "that old time hockey" like no other, playing the game with complete disregard for his own safety. Shore was one of the most penalized men in the NHL, and also a perennial member of its All Star Team. A dedicated athlete, Shore won the Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player four times — a record for a defenseman not since matched — and led Boston to two Stanley Cups in 1929 and 1939. In 1933, Shore was the instigator of hockey’s most infamous event, the tragic "Ace Bailey Incident," and during his subsequent sixteen-game suspension the fans chanted, "We want Shore!" After retiring from the NHL in 1940, Shore’s passion for the game remained undiminished, and as owner and tyrant of the AHL Springfield Indians, he won championship after championship. This is an action-packed and full-throated celebration of the "mighty Eddie Shore" — and also of the sport of hockey as it was gloriously played in a bygone age. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 027663
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