April 19, 2009

Stanley Cup Legends: Ken Mallen Never Got His Name On The Stanley Cup

Today I want to talk about the curious case of Ken Mallen - the Stanley Cup champion who never got his name of the Stanley Cup, and no one is quite sure why.

Born in 1884 (possibly 1885) in Morrisburg, Ontario, Mallen was a popular speed merchant who served in 155 professional and amateur games. He was a true vagabond, bouncing from league to league, and city to city, likely on the legendary word of his skating ability.

His most famous stops may have been with the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915, where he captured the Stanley Cup championship.

However Mallen's name was mysteriously omitted from Stanley Cup engravement.

The excellent book called Lord Stanley's Cup, written by Andrew Podnieks and produced by the Hockey Hall of Fame, talked about Mallen's situation on page 47:

"A speed skater, Kenny Mallen played this year on a line with Nighbor and MacKay after coming over from New Westminster with goalie Lehman. Nonetheless, his name is inexplicably not on the Cup."

Podnieks is the most thorough of researchers, and with the HHOF behind the book you can guarantee he had access to every resource available, but he could not find an answer as for the omission.

Therefore we will have to assume Mallen's exclusion is simple oversight and not anything more sinister.

Mallen died young, just 34 or 35 years old depending on his official birth year, of a severe attack of bronchial pneumonia.

Upon his death Mike Rodden, sports editor of the Toronto Globe wrote about Mallen:

"On Wednesday at Morrisburg Kenny Mallen succumbed to an attack of double pneumonia, and thus passed the man who was rated by many as the fastest skater that hockey ever knew. He had worn the colors of numerous clubs, notably the Montreal Wanderers, Calumet, Toronto, Quebec, Renfrew, Ottawa, New Westminster, Vancouver, Seattle and Pittsburgh, but had never reached the heights as a (Howie) Morenz or a (King) Clancy because he could not control that puck in accordance with his phenomenal speed, nor could he combine with slower teammates. However, it was the worth the price of admission to see him "burn up that ice." On natural surfaces, particularly when bitterly cold weather prevailed, the snow flew off the skates of the flying Mallen.

"After his retirement from professional hockey he held the position of instructor of sports at the Ottawa Playgrounds, was a professional figure skater at London, Ont., and acted as coach of the Morrisburg Maroons and Cardinal St. Lawrence Hockey League teams.

"The late Mr. Mallen's friends were legion. He always "played the game," and even in the days when hockey resembled a miniature war this fine sportsman took his bumps and did not retaliate. Kenny Mallen was a gentleman."

By the way, Mallen's obituary suggests he also worked for the municipality of Morrisburg as a treasurer, and was a figure skating instructor for four years in San Francisco and later in British Columbia.

1 comment:

dude said...

Hello. I was wondering where you find the references to quote Mike Rodden during his years as a sports commentator. He is my Great Grandfather and I would like to learn more about him. Thank you for the article!