November 17, 2009

Howie Morenz's Death Bed

It is one of the most stirring images in hockey history. Howie Morenz, the NHL's first superstar, lying in his death bed.

Tragedy struck on the night of January 28, 1937. Howie Morenz suffered a horrific injury. He broke 4 bones in his left leg and ankle in a game against Chicago. He was tripped in the corner of the rink and somehow his skate got lodged into the boards. Chicago defenseman Earl Seibert accidentally fell over Morenz, breaking "the Stratford Streak's" leg viciously.

Morenz seemed to be recovering nicely in hospital, but too many visitors helped to contribute to a nervous breakdown. Shortly afterward, on March 8th Morenz died. Legend has always falsely said that he died of a broken heart when doctors told him he wouldn't be able to play hockey again. In actuality the cause was an undetected blood clot.

A funeral was held for the fallen superstar that packed the Montreal Forum. Thousands upon thousands of fans lined the streets and crowded the arena with with a tremendous outpouring of emotion and respect for the immortal great. Eight years later, Morenz would be the very first player inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame.

Twelve days before his death Morenz autographed a stick while in hospital. In black ink Morenz wrote "To Kenneth from Howie Morenz - St. Luke Hospital - Feb 24th 1937." The stick is now up for auction at amazing hockey history website Classic

It should be noted that it is unclear if this was actually a game used stick. It is in incredible condition with no markings or cracks. The only hint of use is the original tape remnants.

Used by Morenz or not, the thought of Howie just handling it is spine-tingling. Check this out at Classic The auction closes on December 8th, 2009.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Michael Langlois said...

Another great post about an all-time great. My late dad, a long-time Montreal fan, saw Morenz play. My father was one of those who seemed to believe the 'broken heart' theory as a reason for Morenz' sudden and unexpected death.
Michael Langlois
Vintage Leaf