December 12, 2008

75 Years Ago: Eddie Shore Ends Ace Bailey's Career

December 12th, 1933. The Boston Gardens plays hosts to hometown Bruins and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. When the puck drops no one in attendance or on the ice knows that they are about to witness, or partake in, one of the most infamous moments in hockey history.

This is the game when the Bruins' great defender Eddie Shore ended the career, and nearly the life, of Ace Bailey. In a wild fit of rage Shore attacks Bailey, mistaking him for King Clancy who initially irritated him. It was a basic slew-foot - as simple as it was unsportsmanlike. But as Bailey fell he hit his head on the ice and fractured his skull. He lay twisted and twitching in a seizure-like state. Bailey had two brain operations and hovered between life and death for 10 days.

Bailey eventually recovered to live a normal life but his hockey career was finished.
The lasting legacy of this incident was the birth of the All Star Game. An all-star benefit game was held at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 14, 1934. This was 13 years before the NHL would introduce an annual all-star game. Bailey and Shore shook hands and embraced at centre ice before the game began.

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