As a hockey history geek I was beyond excited to learn a lot of new information about a really old hockey player last week.
Andrew Hind of the Midland Mirror wrote an article about Big Bert Corbeau. Most people do not know of him. He last played in the NHL in 1927, and his best days predated the NHL itself.
Bert Corbeau was a big man in his day, noted for his physical presence and goal scoring ability from the blue line. I liken him to a bit of a cross between the modern day Hatcher brothers. Corbeau had big Kevin's penchant for offense, but was more of Derian's mentality - mean and aggressive.
Hind's article is about Corbeau's tragic death. During World War II Corbeau found work at a foundary and machine factory in his hometown of Penetanguishene, building supplies for the allied forces. It was a stressful job, and Corbeau, forever the team player, decided to relieve the stresses of his work mates by treating several of them to a day of fishing out on the Georgian Bay. Corbeau, an avid boater and fisherman, owned his own 79-foot yacht, but it was ill equiped to handle the number of people who boarded on the fateful day of September 21, 1942. A severe storm hit, and the dangerously overloaded boat was not able to speed back to the docks. The boat would capsize in the violent waves, killing Corbeau and most of his 41 guests.
I had not known anything of Corbeau's demise before this. Previously I had always associated Corbeau with his exorbitant hockey card price. The 1923-24 Paterson Hockey Bar card set was produced with Corbeau's card in very limited quantities, simply due to oversight. Because of the scarcity of Corbeau's card #25, a complete set of this collection is extremely rare, and extremely valuable. An online auction saw a set come in at nearly $10,000 US.