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December 11, 2012

Don't Believe Everything You Read

Here's an old photo of Renfrew teammates Newsy Lalonde, Frank Patrick and Cyclone Taylor in 1909-10. The Renfrew team was known as the Creamery Kings but was unofficially nicknamed the Millionaires because of the money owner Ambrose O'Brien threw at big name stars like these three. Especially Cyclone Taylor. His contract made him the highest paid athlete in Canadian history at that time. His compensation for the 2 month season - $5,250. It didn't work. Renfrew finished 3rd that year and reportedly lost $17,500.

What I really wanted to point out here was the fact that Lalonde and Taylor were teammates. I've been reading some about their rivalry back in the day, as they were arguably the best of the best. For the most part was said to be a friendly rivalry, at least by hockey standards.

That being said, John Kieran of the Newe York Times suggested otherwise. .

On March 27th, 1930, JKieran wrote the following about Cyclone Taylor and Newsy Lalonde.

The greatest player that ever pulled a pair of skates on his feet. That's who Cyclone Taylor was. And a fighter! I remember the night he and Newsy Lalonde had it out on the ice, and then, after the game, Newsy was getting on a street car and Taylor, coming up from behind, grabbed him by the leg and pulled him off. They fought in the snow for an hour.

I don't doubt that the Cyclone was the greatest player Kieran had ever seen. Lots of people back then said that. But this is the first time I've ever heard this story. If it was true it would have passed through the hockey history channels many times over. Taylor himself never said a word about it in his autobiography.

Ah, those were the days when sports journalism was great storytelling. You've got to love those old time hockey writers. But sometimes their storytelling was purposefully contorted to build rivalries and sell tickets.

I suspect this was one of those times.

1 comment:

JeffB said...

"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" goes the old line...

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