April 20, 2009

Stanley Cup Legends: Thirsty Moore Unlikeliest Of Heroes

The New York Americans' goalie in this picture is Alfie Moore. The little known goalie is enjoying a beer after a game with Toronto goalie Turk Broda.

Moore only played 21 games for the Amerks, plus two more in the playoffs. Otherwise he was a well travelled, long time minor league goalie.

But he did get into one more NHL game. It is one of the greatest stories in Stanley Cup folklore.

In the 1938 NHL playoffs Chicago was playing Toronto in the Stanley Cup finals. Chicago's regular goalie Mike Karakas came down with a broken toe and was unable to play. The Hawks regular replacement Paul Goodman had not arrived to Toronto in time for game one, leaving Chicago without a goaltender to open the series. Furthermore, Toronto refused to let New York Rangers goalie Davey Kerr fill in.

Johnny Gottselig, who at that time was Chicago's captain remembered the situation very well:

" We had a noon meeting before the first game in Toronto that night, and Bill Stewart (player/referee Paul Stewart's grandfather) told us that Mike Karakas couldn't play, his toe was so bad. Our minor league goalie, Paul Goodman hadn't arrived. Alfie Moore was a minor league goaltender who lived in Toronto, so Stewart told me to go get him.

" I knew Alfie. I went to his house and his wife, Agnes, she said he's down at the tavern, you can find him there. I went down to the tavern and a guy told me Alfie just left here, you can find him at another one. I caught him at the second one, and he's sitting there with three or four other hockey players who were through for the season.

" I walked in and Alfie looked at me and said, ' By God am I glad to see you. I'd love to get a couple of tickets for tonight's game.' And I said, 'Boy, Alfie you got the best seat in the house.' When I told him he was going to play that night, he said, ' Boy, it's about time. That Connie Smythe is going to rue the day he ever sent me down to Pittsburgh. I should have been playing up here instead of Broda, I'll show that Connie Smythe.'

" Then he said let's have one more drink on that before we go. He'd had about ten or a dozen before that. We brought him back to the hotel, when Stewart, who was a non-drinker, saw him he said, ' Get him out of here, he won't play for us tonight.' I said, ' Hell, I'm not going into those nets Bill, and I don't think Mush March will (also a forward). This guy is going to play or else.'

" ' Well,' Bill said. 'It's your money fellows, if you want to use this guy go ahead and use him.'

"We took him out to the rink and put some coffee into him and put him under the shower. By game time he was in pretty good shape. The first shot they threw at him, it went in, the first shot of the game. But after that they couldn't put a puck by him and I guess that night he did show Connie Smythe."

Chicago won that first final game, April 5, 1938, 3-1. And beside the Gordie Drillon goal after 1:53, Alfred shut out the Maple Leafs. Gottselig by the way had two goals in that game.

It was Alfred's only game of the playoffs, as the Leafs insisted the Hawks had to use Goodman now that had arrived. But Chicago went on to win the Stanley Cup and Alfred got his name inscribed on the Cup. As further show of their appreciation, the Hawks gave Moore an engraved watch.

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