Skip to main content

Hockey's First All Star Game: Hod Stuart Memorial Game

Hockey's very first All Star game pre-dated on January 2nd, 1908, nine years before the NHL even existed, and nearly 40 years before the first official NHL All Star game.

Hockey's first all star game (it is believed to be the first all star game in any sport) pitted the stars of the Eastern Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA) against the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Wanderers. The game was to honour one of hockey's all time greats in a memorial match.

Hod Stuart, just 28 years old, died in the Bay of Quinte on June 23rd, 1907. He was one of hockey's best players, considered to be the best defensive player of his time, and had just helped the Montreal Wanderers to a Stanley Cup victory three months earlier. The Wanderers made him hockey's highest paid player when they signed him prior to that season.

Stuart was summering in the famed Bay of Quinte, enjoying the waters. However he made a fatal mistake of diving into the water off of the base of a lighthouse and into shallow water. He dove from about six feet above ground only to meet his demise when he landed head first into rocks beneath a couple of feet beneath dark waters. He was found submerged, his head cut open and his neck broken. He had died immediately upon impact.

The Montreal Gazette's obituary of Stuart is highly flattering:

"Stuart's work throughout the winter is well known here and requires little comment. He was the backbone of the team, and without him the Wanderers would have been lost. He was a real general of the game, he knew it thoroughly himself, and could play any position from forward to point, and he had the ability to impart what he knew to others. One feature won Stuart hosts of friends here in Montreal, and that was that in all the many hard games he took part in during the winter he played clean, gentlemanly hockey all the way through."

The memorial game was created to raise money for Stuart's widow and two children. 3,800 fans attended the game, raising more than $2000 for the family.

The Wanderers won the game 10-6. They jumped out to a 7-1 first half lead. The All Stars started clicking in the second half, scoring 5 unanswered goals.

The All Stars invited to play were Percy LeSueuer, Ron Kennedy, Frank Patrick, Joe Power, Grover Sargent, Eddie Hogan and Jack Marshall. Stuart's younger brother Bruce, a star down in the United States leagues at the time, was a special invite but he could not participate due to an injury. Jack Laviolette also could not play, allowing Patrick a roster spot.

The Wanderers line up included Riley Hern, Walter Smaill, Frank Glass, Ernie Russell, Cecil Blatchford, Ernie Johnson and, replacing Hod Stuart on defense, a young Art Ross.

Just how good was Hod Stuart? When the Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1945, the powerful skating defenseman, the Bobby Orr of his era, was included as one of the 12 initial inductees. That tells you just how highly acclaimed he was.

By the way, Stuart worked with his father's construction company, often as a brick layer. He also spent the summer months playing rugby and football, briefly playing in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders. In his younger days he and Bruce were noted curlers, too.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M