I know violence in hockey is sort of a trendy topic these days. Or at least it was two weeks ago. As is often the case in our 24/7 news world, trendy topics tend to have a pretty short shelf life unless it’s continually stocked with new material.
Anyways, when I heard the most recent moaning and groaning about the state of hockey, I remember thinking: Was no one around in the 1970s? Sheesh, that era makes today’s hockey battles seem like kindergarten recess spats.
And what’s with all the junk about today’s players not respecting other players like they did back in the day?
What day are they talking about?
When earlier this week I was researching on microfilm some St. Catharines Teepee games from the 1948-49, I came across a story about a grudge match between the Teepees and the Windsor Spitfires. Things got out of hand when some Windsor sluggo named O’Grady committed, according to the Standard reporter covering the game, one of “the rawest, deliberate butcher acts of the season.”
Here’s the rest of the account:
“Frenzied when checked in mid-ice and stopped on a rush by sturdy Gord Byers, O’Grady swung his stick with such force that it snapped in two, macing Byers across the crown of his head. Byers, dropped as if pole-axed, struggled to his feet and with blood dripping, was aided off the ice.
O’Grady looked once at Byers, then skated calmly over to his bench and selected another hickory-stick before squawking to the refs on his penalty.”
The reporter recommended at least a three-game suspension for the “haywire Spitfire for an unwarranted, deliberate act of slicing.”
Nope. O’Grady played against the Teepees in a game later that week.
As you probably know, our mothballed presses are being removed from the building. The removal equipment is taking up half our parking lot and the William Street entrance has been blocked off.
So, we’ve opened the iron gates at the other end. Thus, for the first time in my 32 years and counting at The Standard, I drove into the property from Queen St.
I found the experience … liberating.
Back to the 1948-49 Teepee season.
I thought bad popular culture references in newspaper stories were made exclusively by aging Baby Boomers such as myself.
In another game story from that season, the anonymous writer – there were no bylines back then – tried to get across in his lead sentence that the Teepees had finally beaten a team they usually lost to.
Here’s the lead:
“As Red Skelton would say, ‘they dood it.’”
Red Skelton! Yowzers times 10!
I know of Red, of course. Used to watch his show in the 1960s. But the term ‘dood it’? Never heard of it.
A Google search reveals it was a catchphrase of Red’s from his radio show in the early 1940s. So popular was he and the phrase that an MGM musical-comedy film called “I Dood It” was made in 1943.
And here I was feeling bad about making reference to Gilligan’s Island in past columns.
You go, Ginger and Mary Ann!