February 10, 2015
The Greatest Story In Hockey History That Was Too Good To Be True
My mom called me the other day, terribly excited about the most fantastic hockey history story ever not told.
Mom is a big fan of Stuart McLean, the legendary storyteller from CBC radio's The Vinyl Cafe. I've written books, worked for Hockey Canada and NHL teams, written for major publications and consulted for television pieces. But all my projects I've done she likes to tell people about the time I helped Stuart McLean with his famous annual Christmas story.
Recently McLean was in Jasper, Alberta, unveiling a completely new story. A hockey story, no less. The greatest story in hockey history never told.
McLean was excited to finally reveal "the truth" about the 1945 World Hockey Championships.
“It’s the story the hockey world tried to hush up and say never happened,“ McLean said. “I’m busting the story open.”
McLean's story, available here for download, is a fantastic story, well worth the listen. Mom thought the story was completely true. If it was, it would have been amazing. But, it was not.
The story goes something like this. The official story is there was no World Hockey Championships in 1945, thanks to World War II. However it was actually a humongous cover up because Canada, represented by the Allan Cup champion Big Narrows Coal Miners, and Czechoslovakia, refused to finish their championship game. The game went to sudden death, but since both sides were full of former soldiers neither side wanted anything to do with "sudden death." Instead some players switched sides and donned the opposite team's jersey and they played an endless game of shinny, except they refused to score a goal.
The hockey powers that be were so upset at the display that they went to great extent to cover it up. And, if it were true, they did a fantastic job because nobody had ever heard a story as fantastic as this before. They even went so far as to hide the Allan Cup championship from the Big Narrows Coal Miners. Instead, the official records all say the Allan Cup was not played that year, again because of World War II.
And that should have been the first hint that maybe this story was too good to be true. There has never been a hockey team called the Coal Miners from Big Narrows. In fact, there is no Big Narrows. That is the fictional Cape Breton, Nova Scotia home of Stuart McLean's most famous Vinyl Cafe characters, Dave and Morley.
Ah but still it is a great story, and as I said before you should give it a listen. Download the podcast here or on iTunes. The hockey story starts around the 20:00 minute mark.