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Spunk Sparrow

Emory "Spunk" Sparrow only played six games (some sources suggest it was 8 games) in the National Hockey League. They all came with Boston way back in the 1924-25 season.

That's not to say Sparrow was not a good hockey player. Back then the NHL was considered to be the best league in Eastern Canada, while the PCHA/WCHL was considered to be the western equivalent.

Once Sparrow was discharged from the Canadian armed forces in World War I, Sparrow became a prominent senior league hockey player. He did not have to go far for either his military stationing or the birth of his hockey career. In both cases it happened in Winnipeg.

After a couple of seasons Sparrow moved out to Moose Jaw and, starting in 1919, enjoyed 3 strong seasons. He scored over a goal per game.

That caught the eye of the western pro league. By 1922 he turned pro and starred with the Regina Capitals. He also played with the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Tigers in a career that lasted until 1929. He made a couple of brief appearances with some American teams in various leagues, including the half dozen games with the NHL Bruins.

The nickname "Spunk" it was caught my eye. I suppose if my name was Emory I'd prefer Spunk Sparrow, too.

"Spunk" suggests he was an energetic pest of a player, though that is just my assumption. I found one interesting story in Stan Fischler's Hockey's 100. Fischler, who has a tendency to add a lot of colour to make the real story seem much more fantastic, was writing about the great Dick Irvin when this story was presented.

"Once, while playing for Regina, Irvin was deliberately hooked under the chin by a notorious foe named Spunk Sparrow. Irvin had a habit of playing with his tongue between his teeth and the blow of Sparrow's stick was so severe that Dick bit right through his tongue. Instead of heading to the infirmary for repairs, Irvin insisted on continuing. He won the face-off, wheeled past the penalty box where Sparrow was incarcerated and walloped his adversary so hard that Sparrow required 16 stitches to close the wound. Only then did Irvin head to the dressing room, where the doctor sewed up his tongue, which was hanging by a shred."

Double ouch!

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