February 21, 2013

Russell Bowie

Russell Bowie never played in the NHL. In fact he never played professionally. Yet had he played in the modern day NHL he would be considered one of the greatest center ice-men in the history of the game. He was a Stanley cup champion in 1899 and, pretty much as importantly back then, an Allan Cup champion in 1909.

Bowie played both the center and the rover position in the days of seven man hockey. A proud amateur with the Montreal Victorias of the CHAL/ECAHA, reconstructed official statistics sheets suggest he scored a total of 234 goals in 80 recorded games.

Bowie scored 8 goals in one game in 1907. Twice he scored 7 goals in one game, and five times he netted six in a game.

In the eras before Cyclone Taylor and Newsy Lalonde, Russell Bowie may have been the most dominant offensive player in hockey. In his famous hockey history book The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Charles Coleman even selected Bowie along with Joe Malone and Frank Nighbor as the best forwards in all of hockey from 1893 through to 1926. Bowie was picked over more notably professional players like Harry Broadbent, Cy Denneny and Jack Darragh. (Taylor and Lalonde were considered to be rovers - the now distinct 7th position - by Coleman).

The Ottawa Citizen reported that Bowie "once refused the fabulous offer of $3000 plus $4 per minute for a 12-game season with a professional club." Montreal papers continually raved about his stickhandling exhibitions and his scoring exploits.

Bowie was forced to retire after suffering a broken collarbone in 1910. He would continue in hockey by participating as a referee.

Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947, Russell Bowie died on April 8, 1959 at the age of 79.

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