Frank "King" Clancy is one of the greatest players hockey has ever known.
Like all hockey players, sticks and skates topped his Christmas wish lists when he was a kid. Anne M. Logan's great book Rare Jewel For A King features some great stories about just that.
Clancy's Christmas Stick
"At ten or fifteen cents each, sticks were more reasonable. Your first hockey stick was still a special present and Clancy's was no exception. It was to be from Santa, and it was hidden under his mother's bed. Guess who found it, could not resist trying it out and, of course, broke it. The only solution he could figure was to put the two pieces back under the bed. His poor mother was devastated when, on Christmas Eve, she went to put the presents from Santa under the tree. It was too late to buy another, so there was nothing to do but put the broken stick with the other gifts."
A Gift From His Idol
As Logan goes on to say, Christmas presents in subsequent years really helped his hockey career, especially a certain pair of skates.
"His Christmas skates another year were more of a success. He laced them on, stepped out the door and slid all the way down the front steps on his behind. As if that was not bad enough, his pride was equally sore as he turned back and found his parents roaring with laughter.
"His next pair were a real thrill. Eddie Gerard, the star Ottawa Senators defenseman, was a friend of the senior Clancy. When he discarded his skates, he passed them along for Tom to give to his son. When Frank later joined (the Senators), paired with his hero on defense, he was still wearing the hand-me-down skates. Gerard became a friend and a teacher to the young Clancy and inspired him to do likewise for other young players, one and two generations later.