March 10, 2015

Jimmy Haggarty

Jimmy Haggarty was born in Port Arthur, Ontario in 1914. He grew up starring in the great Canadian game with the local Bearcats team, challenging for the Memorial Cup as a junior and the Allan Cup as a senior.

The Bearcats went on a tour of Europe in 1935, but Haggarty didn't go home with the team. He, like a number of Canadians with British ties at that time, was offered good money to play with the Wembley Canadians, later renamed the Monarchs.  Haggarty starred in Wembley until the start of World War II when he decided to return to Canada.

The highlight of Haggarty's British stay was losing the Olympic gold medal at the 1936 games. Yes, losing.

The British team, stocked full of players who grew up playing the game in Canada, shocked Team Canada en route to one of the most surprising upsets in Olympic hockey history. They originally had Haggarty on their team, too. But Canada lobbied to have many of these players, most notably Haggarty, to be ruled ineligible. Canada was successful in having Haggarty removed from the team, and then turned around and asked him to play for them. Haggarty did, winning the silver medal.

Haggarty returned to Canada and played senior hockey in Montreal for most of the 1940s. But he did also get into his only NHL games when he signed with the Montreal Canadiens in the spring of 1942. He played 5 regular season games (1 goal, 1 assist) before playing 3 more playoff games (2 goals, 1 assist).

Haggarty retired in 1950. He made the headlines again in the 1970s when his Olympic silver medal was stolen and never found. The International Olympic Committee finally caught wind of the story in 1998 and had a new medal prepared. Haggarty was presented with his replacement medal two months before his passing.

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