October 06, 2009

Harry Mummery

Harry "Mum" Mummery was a well travelled hockey player. He was a regular fixture on the back line of the Quebec Bulldogs in the NHA from 1912 through 1917, but then joined the Montreal Canadiens for that league's final season. When the league reformed as the NHL, Mummery moved on to the Toronto Arenas. Over the course of the next 6 NHL seasons, the likeable man they called "Mum" played for Toronto, back to Quebec, back to Montreal, and then on to Hamilton. He ended his career with one final season in Saskatoon.

Why was Mummery moved so often? Perhaps the teams did not want to pay his food bill. Teams would buy meals, but Mummery taxed the budget all by himself. He was a voracious eater. He was said to be able to "down a couple of five-pound steaks, quaff a huge mug of cream, scoff a whole apple pie ... then go right out and play 40+ minutes of hockey!"

Another source suggested Mummery, a noted volunteer firefighter, would often "take five pound steaks in a shovel and cooking them up in a pot bellied stove right in the dressing room. He'd follow that treat up with some apple pie, and wash the whole thing down with a pint of cream."

He could play well, despite his unlikely physique. The defenseman stood at 5'11" and, due to his constant eating grew from a playing weight of 220lbs all the way up to a suspected weight of 265lbs!

Despite his weight, he was said to be a surprisingly good skater. Once he got going he would rumble from one end of the ice to the other while swatting away oncoming defenders before unleashing a heavy shot on goal.

In 208 NHA/NHL big league games Mummery scored 60 goals. Twice he won the Stanley Cup, once in Quebec (NHA) and once in Toronto (NHL).

By the way: On three occasions Mummery tended the net in NHL games. Way back then goaltenders were forced to the penalty box to serve their own penalties. When this happened someone else would have to play in net, with Mummery being chosen thrice.

By the way, II: Harry Mummery was born in Chicago on August 25th, 1889, making him one of very few American born players in the NHL's formative years. Mummery's family moved to Brandon, Manitoba when Harry was very young. Mummery returned home after his hockey vagabond days, dying in Brandon on December 7th, 1945.


musicguy45 said...

I feel proud to be a Mummery now! I have just got in to college and we are doing ancestry searches and I play goalie for our lacrosse team!

Unknown said...

Harry was my Dad's Uncle. My Dad Robert Cleaver also played hockey but not for NHL. All these farm boys had huge appetites!

Unknown said...

Volunteer fire fighter should be changed to fireman, in the terms of a steam train, one who tendered a fire. Harry left hockey to pursue a career as a engineer for CP railway.

Unknown said...

My sons both played hockey in their younger years. Harry must have passed his sport down the lines. My Dad Robert Cleaver also played but not in a professional league, and my sons as well. I am the oldest daughter of Robert Cleaver. My name is now Marjorie Swift. I live in Duncan BC on a small farm. I am proud to be a part of this history.